President Donald Trump’s move to put his signature on tens of millions of coronavirus stimulus checks is more ridiculous than it sounds.
Trump regularly politicizes events for his own gain but this decision shows just how clueless and out of touch he is.
The biggest problem with Trump’s decision is that it’s highly likely to delay these checks being posted.
And given paper checks are likely destined for the poorest recipients, any delay could damage his 2020 presidential campaign.
Just hours after his decision, the most searched Google terms in the U.S. include ‘when will stimulus checks arrive?’ and ‘how do you get the stimulus check?’.
By signing them and risking a delay, Trump could anger rural Americans on lower incomes who voted disproportionately for the president.
Welfare checks always bare the signature of a civil servant, meaning the president’s demand is entirely unheard of.
Treasury Directive 16-23 dictates that the Chief Disbursing Officer, or a disbursing officer “under her control or supervision,” can sign these checks.
President Trump affixing his signature to coronavirus stimulus checks is legally dubious and highly impractical for several reasons. First, it would require the Treasury Department to deviate from its normal practice and potentially change its internal directives.
According to CREW, the Chief Disbursing Officer cannot delegate authority to sign Treasury checks to the President.
This is why the president’s signature is actually going to appear on the ‘memo’ section on the left side of the check, according to reports .
President Trump’s wish to sign checks also shows just how outdated he is.
The IRS has many taxpayers’ direct deposit information on file and can wire the $1,200 coronavirus stimulus payment.
Plus, there’s a plan to launch a web-based service for people to tell the IRS their bank details to ensure swift payment.
Anything involving paper checks is simply adding unnecessary cost to the taxpayer.
Treasury officials have claimed there won’t be a delay and that checks will start going out next week. This is in spite of the fact that two senior officials told The Washington Post that the decision would probably set back the delivery date of the first set of checks.
According to a House Ways and Means Committee memo , paper checks will be mailed at a rate of 5 million per week.
Mailing all checks is already expected to take 20 weeks, so any delay the president’s signature causes could be something he soon regrets.
Of course, Trump’s misplaced motivation is likely to see him campaign on the notion ‘he’ sent people the money.