Stimulus Checks: Congress Members Lobbying to Make Major Change to Payments

As Americans are well aware, the White House and Congress previously reached a deal in late March regarding a $2 trillion stimulus package. That package entailed that eligible Americans would receive a one-time $1,200 check (or $2,400) with an additional $500 given to those with children as dependents. However, there have been a variety of issues associated with these payments, with individuals either not receiving theirs yet or receiving their payment in the wrong account. As a result of these qualms, eleven members of Congress have written a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, asking him to consider the user of blockchain technology to help provide stimulus checks to Americans.

According to Forbes, 90 of the 150 million individuals who are eligible to receive their stimulus check have received it already. They also noted that the 60 million Americans who have not received theirs yet includes low-income families who don't normally file income tax returns. Given that a large number of Americans have not received their payments yet, several members of Congress are asking Secretary Mnuchin to consider alternatives in order to help send these checks out. In their letter to him, they urged Mnuchin to "utilize private sector innovations such as blockchain and DLT to support the necessary functions of government to distribute and track relief programs and direct that all guidance support the use of technology to facilitate delivery of CARES Act benefits."

Forbes reported that this proposal comes from Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN), Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ), Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC), Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), Congressman Ben McAdams (D-UT), Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL), and Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands), and Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL), Co-Chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.

Blockchain, the technology which Congress has asked the Treasury Department to consider using, is a cryptocurrency service that enables peer to peer transactions. While Mnuchin has not spoken out regarding the possible usage of it for stimulus payments, he has addressed his feelings on cryptocurrency in the past. As Forbes reported, he has said, "I want to be careful that anybody who’s using Bitcoin — regardless of what the price is — is using it for proper purposes and not illicit purposes...And there are billions of dollars of transactions going on in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes."