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The U.S. government will begin sending aid tonight in the form of a $600 direct payment to Americans in order to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, announced Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“These payments may begin arriving in some bank accounts as direct deposits as early as tonight and will be followed next week,” Mnuchin reported on Twitter.
In addition, the Treasury will mail paper checks to all those who do not have a bank account registered in government databases.
The Treasury’s announcement comes at a time when the U.S. Senate, with a Republican majority, is evaluating whether to increase from $600 to $2,000 those direct payments that are included in a $900 billion stimulus package that was approved by both houses of Congress a week ago.
For five days, U.S. President Donald Trump resisted ratification of the stimulus package because of the high amount of foreign aid, but on Sunday night he backed down and agreed to sign it.
He asked, however, that the aid to be received by all Americans with an income of less than $75,000 a year be increased to $2,000.
Trump and the Democrats agree to increase those payments, but Republicans have been divided: some support the increase because it is a popular idea among Americans, and others hold on to the tradition of the party, which had always advocated fiscal discipline and control of public spending.
On Tuesday, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, refused to put the measure to a vote and outlined his strategy, which will consist of linking the increase of direct payments to the creation of a commission to study the November 3rd elections.
By linking the monetary increase to the election, McConnell puts the Democrats in a difficult position.
In the negotiations over direct citizen checks, both Democrats and Republicans are trying to get political advantage in view of the January 5th election in Georgia.
On that day, Georgia holds elections to choose the two seats in the U.S. Senate that will decide which party will have the majority in that chamber.