In an "unprecedented" move, the Treasury Department has ordered the IRS to print Donald Trump's name on the coronavirus stimulus checks—marking the first time a president's signature has appeared on an IRS disbursement.
According to the The Washington Post, the last-minute decision was finalized Monday, as the government prepares to mail $1,200 paper checks to tens of million of Americans. The payments—part of the $2 trillion relief package—are intended to assist households that have been financially impacted by the global health crisis. Americans have been waiting on the stimulus checks since the package was approved by Congress last month; and according to two IRS senior officials, the decision to print Trump's name will likely cause an unnecessary delay for the first batch of checks.
"Any last minute request like this will create a downstream snarl that will result in a delay," Chad Hooper, the national president of the IRS's Professional Managers Association, told the Post.
The Treasury Department, however, insists the paper payments will be mailed out as originally scheduled.
"Economic Impact Payment checks are scheduled to go out on time and exactly as planned—there is absolutely no delay whatsoever," a spokesperson for the department said in a written statement. "In fact, we expect the first checks to be in the mail early next week, which is well in advance of when the first checks went out in 2008 and well in advance of initial estimates."
According to the Post, the move to have Trump's name printed on the checks had been in discussion for weeks; however, the IRS information technology team didn't learn of the decision until Tuesday. Three anonymous administration officials said POTUS had originally suggested he formally sign each stimulus check; though Trump denied this report during an early April press briefing.
"No. Me sign? No. There’s millions of checks. I’m going to sign them? No," he told reporters. "It’s a Trump administration initiative. But do I want to sign them? No."
The Post also points out that a president is not an authorized signer for legal disbursements by the Treasury. So, as an apparent compromise, Trump's name will appear in the memo section below a line that reads "Economic Impact Payment."