Stimulus checks meant to boost the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic may be delayed because President Donald Trump wants to have his name printed on them, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The Treasury Department on Monday finalized a decision to have Trump’s name appear in the memo line of the $1,200 stimulus checks each American will receive as part of the coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress last month, the Washington Post reported.
Engineers have to make a computer programming change and then test the system in order to insert Trump’s name on the checks, which will take time and likely cause a delay in the first batch of checks, two senior officials told the Washington Post.
This will be the first time a president’s name will appear on a payment made by the Treasury Department, according to the Washington Post.
The IRS will send paper checks to those who don’t have their direct deposit information on file with the agency over the next several months, starting the week of May 4 with the lowest income filers.
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes, but told the Washington Post that the checks “are scheduled to go out on time and exactly as planned—there is absolutely no delay whatsoever.”
Chad Hooper, the national president of the IRS’s Professional Managers Association, told the Washington Post he was appalled by the move.
“In this time of need for additional resources, anything that takes our focus from getting those checks out the door and hampers the equitable, fair administration of the tax code is not something we can support,” he said.
As the economy began to crumble in the wake of the pandemic, Trump embraced the idea of sending checks to every American after Republicans in Congress signaled their support for such a move, though Trump initially suggested a payroll tax cut as the primary relief mechanism for individuals impacted by the virus. The president eventually signed a massive $2 trillion aid package, the largest relief bill in American history, at the end of March that included a measure to send direct cash payments to individuals.
Trump has faced harsh criticism in recent days after multiple media outlets reported he was slow to respond to the virus and instead focused on controlling the message so as not to impact the economy. While the president continues to tout his travel ban as an example of early action, critics have pointed out that the federal government did not use the month of February to ramp up testing and secure enough medical supplies for hospitals in need.