White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden "didn't think that was a priority or a necessary step"

By Sean Neumann
March 11, 2021 10:00 AM
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Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
| Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

President Joe Biden's name will not be printed on the latest round of checks being sent to most Americans as part of the just-passed COVID-19 stimulus bill, the White House confirmed on Tuesday.

The decision is in contrast to Biden's predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who took the unusual step of having his name printed at the bottom of the first two rounds of payments.

Trump's decision to have the Treasury Department add his name to the checks delayed them from being sent out for several days, Internal Revenue Service officials told The Washington Post last year. Trump administration officials maintained it didn't cause a delay, however.

This week White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there was no need to debate the issue since Biden, 78, is president.

"We are doing everything in our power to expedite the payments and not delay them, which is why the president's name will not appear on the memo line of this round of stimulus checks," Psaki, 42, told reporters at Tuesday's press briefing.

"This is not about him," Psaki added. "This is about the American people getting relief."

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
| Credit: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty

Congress officially passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on Wednesday and Biden is slated to sign it into law on Friday, meaning checks will be sent out in the coming days.

Individuals making up to $75,000 per year, or couples making up to $150,000 combined per year, will be eligible to receive the full stimulus payments of $1,400. People making more than $80,000 per year will not receive a check at all, while those in between the $75-80,000 range will receive an amount less than $1,400.

Dependents will also receive stimulus checks, and there is increased income eligibility for single parents.

Trump's decision last year to make sure his name was printed on the first two rounds of stimulus checks was unprecedented. No president's name had ever been printed on an IRS disbursement, according to the Post.

The move was seen by many as a political ploy amid the presidential campaign. Likewise, Biden's decision to keep his name off these checks drew pushback from some strategists who said it was politically unwise.

"I'm sure people will be very happy to get a big, fat, beautiful check and my name is on it," Trump, 74, said last year, according to the Associated Press.

Psaki this week said Biden "didn't think that was a priority or a necessary step" to have his name printed on the checks and that Biden's "focus was on getting them out as quickly as possible."

Biden is scheduled to give a primetime address Thursday night discussing the country's last year with the COVID-19 pandemic and his White House's work to address it, including the stimulus bill (which Republicans uniformly opposed as excessive).

"This nation has suffered too much for much too long," the president said last Saturday, after the Senate agreed to pass the bill. "Everything in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and to meet the most urgent needs of the nation, and put us in a better position to prevail."