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COVID-19 relief payments of $600 start going out Tuesday night

The payouts are being sent through direct deposit and checks while a measure to increase the payments to $2,000 is stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
/ Source: NBC News

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that badly needed direct COVID-19 relief payments were being paid out as early as Tuesday night, as a measure to increase the payments to $2,000 from $600 is stalled in the Senate.

"@USTreasury has delivered a payment file to the @FederalReserve for Americans’ Economic Impact Payments. These payments may begin to arrive in some accounts by direct deposit as early as tonight and will continue into next week," Mnuchin announced in a pair of tweets. "Paper checks will begin to be mailed tomorrow," he added.

He said that beginning later this week, people expecting to receive a payment can check its status at its "Get My Payment" page.

Mnuchin said that Treasury and the IRS were “working with unprecedented speed" to get the checks out. “These payments are an integral part of our commitment to providing vital additional economic relief to the American people during this unprecedented time,” he said in a statement.

Under the terms in the bill, individuals who made up to $75,000 in 2019 will receive up to $600. Married couples who earned up to $150,000 will receive up to $1,200. Filers listed as "head of household" and who earned $112,500 or less will also get up to $600. Families will also receive an additional $600 — up from $500 in the spring — for each dependent under 18 years old in the household.

Mnuchin's announcement came hours after Senate Democrats failed in their bid to quickly increase the payments to $2,000 — something President Donald Trump has been urging.

"$600 IS NOT ENOUGH!" Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday.

The president began complaining about the size of the direct payment checks after Congress signed off on them as part of a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package last week.

Mnuchin proposed the $600 checks and negotiated the stimulus package on Trump's behalf with congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle.

Trump's complaints about the size of the direct payment checks led him to drag his heels in signing the bill, resulting in the temporary lapse of some unemployment benefits. Trump relented and signed on Sunday, but maintained his call to up the payments.

The House passed a bill signing off on the increased payments on Monday, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tried to pass in the Senate Tuesday using a mechanism known as unanimous consent. The bid failed when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to Schumer's request.

Democrats are still pushing McConnell to put the House bill up for a stand-alone vote in the coming days.

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