Stimulus Checks: How Second Round of Payments Could Be Delivered

Although there are still no concrete plans to send Americans a second stimulus check to help during the coronavirus economic crisis, there have been several proposals in Congress. Earlier this month, House Democrats narrowly passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which would provide at least another $1,200 for Americans. While there are several differences between this proposal and the first Economic Impact Payment included in the CARES Act, there is one significant similarity. The new check would still be delivered by mail or as a direct deposit.

The first payment was part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed into law in late March. The IRS began sending out the payments in mid-April, with millions of Americans receiving it as a direct deposit based on the most recent banking information the agency had at the time. If the IRS did not have any details for a taxpayer, the payment was sent as a paper check in the mail, with President Donald Trump's signature. The last batch of Americans to receive their payments have seen them come in as prepaid credit cards.

There is at least one significant difference in the HEROES Act payment. As Forbes pointed out, House Democrats included language barring the "name, signature, image or likeness of the President, the Vice President or any elected official or cabinet-level officer of the United States." Trump's decision to include his name on the payments broke with precedent, as previous stimulus payments did not include a president's name printed on them. The Trump administration even sent out letters with Trump's signature to Americans who received payments as a direct deposit.

Since Americans were slow to receive the payments they were entitled to in the CARES Act, 11 members of Congress offered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin a different idea for distributing future stimulus payments. They suggested the money could be delivered faster if the IRS used exclusive blockchain technology. The Treasury should "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 the delivery of CARES Act benefits," according to the bipartisan group of congress members, reports Forbes. The letter was written by Rep. Darren Soto, a Democrat from Florida, and his co-chairs of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, Republicans tom Emmer, and David Schweikert.

The HEROES Act would send Americans a $1,200 check and up to $6,000 per household. While the $3 trillion bills passed the House, it will not be taken up by the Senate, which is just finishing up its week-long Memorial Day recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has supported letting the CARES Act play out longer before working on another stimulus package.