“The economic impact payments must be made because the rent must be paid,” said Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) in a House panel hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. “If we do not do this, we will put persons at risk of being evicted at a time when we are having a pandemic that is still taking lives in this country,” he said.
It came after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that millions of Americans still hadn’t received their stimulus checks authorized under March’s CARES Act, which was passed to prevent further economic losses caused by the pandemic lockdowns.
The GAO stated that the Treasury Department and the IRS have still failed to update information on how many eligible individuals have yet to receive their payments.
“The lack of such information could hinder outreach efforts and place potentially millions of individuals at risk of missing their payment. GAO recommends that Treasury, in coordination with IRS, update and refine the estimate of eligible recipients who have yet to file for an EIP [Economic Impact Payment] to help target outreach and communications efforts,” a news release from the agency stated on Sept. 21.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) also asked about more stimulus payments: “Yes or no, do you believe another stimulus check could help stabilize the economy?”
“I do,” Mnuchin responded. “The administration does support another stimulus payment.”
Talks on stimulus legislature in Congress have stalled, and with the current Senate fight over confirming a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the prospect of more relief seems unlikely in the near future.
House Democrats and Senate Republicans both put forward proposals that differ in cost and scope.
“We obviously can’t pass a bill in the Senate without bipartisan support,” Mnuchin said in the hearing. “Our job is to continue to work with Congress to try to get additional help to the American public.”
Tlaib then pushed the Treasury secretary to authorize more stimulus payments.
“I think you need to be very clear with the senators … that direct payments to individuals is critical to preventing economic collapse in our country,” she said.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 22, Mnuchin and House Democrats came to an agreement to fund the government until mid-December to avoid a shutdown. The Senate will likely soon take up the bill, as it has to be passed before the end of the month.