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$600 stimulus payments will start going out Tuesday night, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin answers questions during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response” in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, December 2, 2020.

Greg Nash | Pool | Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will begin sending stimulus payments of up to $600 to millions of Americans as early as Tuesday evening, the second such direct payment to Americans amid historic unemployment and ongoing business closures.

In a pair of tweets Tuesday evening, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote that payments “may begin to arrive in some accounts by direct deposit as early as tonight.” He also wrote that the government would begin the process of mailing out paper checks on Wednesday for individuals without government-registered bank accounts.

“These payments are an integral part of our commitment to providing vital additional economic relief to the American people during this unprecedented time,” Mnuchin wrote in a separate emailed statement.

The second round of payments will be distributed automatically in the following breakdown: up to $600 for eligible individuals, $1,200 for couples filing jointly and up to $600 for each child.

“Generally, if you have adjusted gross income for 2019 up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses, you will receive the full amount of the second payment,” the Treasury Department wrote in a statement. “For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced,” the statement added.

Last week, Mnuchin told CNBC that Americans who qualify for direct payments could see those funds hit their bank accounts in a matter of days. President Donald Trump‘s delays in signing the package as he criticized the size of the checks and the foreign aid funds included in an accompanying year-end funding bill had raised concerns that the deposits could come later.

“The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,” Mnuchin told CNBC host Jim Cramer.

“So it’s very fast, it’s money that gets recirculated in the economy,” he added. “People go out and spend this money, and that helps small business and that helps getting more people back to work.”

The bill, signed by Trump late Sunday, also extended key unemployment benefits and allocated additional funding for small businesses. The last-minute rush to send stimulus checks reflects the gargantuan task facing the Trump administration in its final weeks.

The payments start as some in the Senate push to pass legislation that will increase direct payments in the year-end coronavirus relief package to $2,000. The House already approved a bill to do so.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday blocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s attempt to unanimously pass a bill that would bump up the direct payments to $2,000.

The Kentucky Republican later Tuesday introduced a bill that would boost the size of the checks to $2,000 from $600, repeal Section 230 legal liability protections for internet platforms and create a commission to study election issues. The bill would meet all of President Donald Trump‘s recent demands, which are unrelated, but would not get Democratic support and become law.

CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk and Tom Franck contributed to this report.

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