Lawmakers are working on getting stimulus checks into Americans' hands faster with a new "real-time payments" plan, according to a report by The Sun. The second stimulus check has not been passed yet, but many analysts feel that it is just a matter of time. Meanwhile, many are focusing on how to ensure that those emergency funds reach the people who need them as fast as possible.
The first round of stimulus checks back in April came with plenty of hiccups, as the IRS tried to sort out the direct deposit information or mailing address for millions of Americans. In the future, the process is expected to go more smoothly, especially with the help of the Expedited Funds Availability Act. The law was reportedly updated last year by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, stating that direct payments from the Federal Reserve should be available for withdrawal "in real time." This calls for the Fed's Board of Governors to create a real-time payment system, so that Americans can withdraw payments like the stimulus check immediately.
The Federal Reserve now has some information available online about that system. It is called FedNow, and it would allow payments like stimulus checks or tax refunds to be withdrawn as soon as they are processed. The problem is that the Fed does not expect this system to be up and running until 2023 or 2024.
"The FedNow Service will be deployed in phases so that the initial service can be launched expeditiously, with additional features and enhancements released in stages after the initial launch," the website states.
The existence of this service will be a huge help if future stimulus checks are need for other disasters, although by 2023 the coronavirus pandemic will hopefully be handled. This infrastructure could also be helpful for efforts to issue some kind of Universal Basic Income, as proposed by politicians like Andrew Yang.
However, some lawmakers hope that the extenuating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic will spur the Fed to get the FedNow system up and running fast. That reportedly includes Rep. Maxine Waters, who has been pushing this issue since March.0comments
"The global spread of the novel coronavirus has adversely impacted the lives of millions of Americans, the economy and the financial system. This is in many ways an unprecedented crisis which calls for extraordinary federal response," Waters said.