Apr 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Mnuchin: Social Security recipients will automatically get stimulus checks

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Social Security recipients who typically don't file tax returns will automatically receive their coronavirus stimulus payment, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday, reversing its original statement.

Why it matters: The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance Monday that Americans "who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return" to access the funds, prompting criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Driving the news: Lawmakers including Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) expressed concern in a letter to the IRS and Treasury earlier Wednesday that such a move would "place a significant burden on retired seniors and individuals who experience disabilities."

  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) tweeted Wednesday it was "ridiculous" the IRS issued guidance saying seniors had to file taxes.

In a reversal, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday:

"Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take an action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account."

Go deeper: How the coronavirus stimulus bill helps you

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House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting

Photo: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

20 House Republicans plan to file a lawsuit late Tuesday against Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an effort to block the chamber's new proxy voting system amid the coronavirus pandemic, three congressional sources tell Axios.

The big picture: The lawsuit, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, alleges the rules are unconstitutional because the Constitution requires a quorum, or a majority, of lawmakers to be physically present in order to conduct business. The lawsuit was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The EU makes its move on a green coronavirus recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The European Commission this morning proposed a $825 billion package of economic responses to the coronavirus pandemic that includes financing for renewable energy, electric vehicle charging and other emissions-friendly projects.

Why it matters: The energy components of the "Next Generation EU" plan, part of a wider multi-year budget proposal, appear to be the most substantial attempt yet to stitch low-carbon investments into economic recovery plans.

Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next

Zipline's drone drops medical supplies via parachute. Image courtesy of Zipline.

Zipline, a California drone company, has made its U.S. debut by delivering medical supplies to hospitals in North Carolina under a pilot program honed in Africa.

Why it matters: The effort, made possible by a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to Novant Health, is the nation's longest-range drone delivery operation and could demonstrate how drones could be used in future pandemics, Zipline officials said.