Jen Psaki says the IRS letter sent to Americans about stimulus checks was 'not intended to make it about' Biden

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
white house press secretary jen psaki
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Jen Psaki defended a letter President Joe Biden sent to Americans about stimulus checks.

  • The letter was "not intended to make it about" Biden, the White House press secretary said.

  • Trump sent a similar letter to Americans when stimulus checks went out during his administration.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, on Friday defended a letter that President Joe Biden sent to tens of millions of Americans who received a third round of COVID-19 stimulus checks this spring.

The letter, mailed by the Internal Revenue Service and signed by the president, touts his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was passed in March, and highlights key provisions of the bill, including $1,400 direct payments, funding for small businesses, and an expanded child tax credit.

Related: Biden delivers first joint address to Congress

"A key part of the American Rescue Plan is direct payments of $1,400 per person for most American households," Biden wrote in the letter obtained by Insider. "This fulfills a promise I made to you, and will help get Americans through the crisis."

The letter is "pretty standard" and was "not intended to make it about him," Psaki told reporters during a press conference on Friday. "It's about the American people."

Psaki said the letter "goes out with physical checks." But people who got the federal aid through direct deposit have also received the letter. The IRS said all recipients of the third payment will get the letter, which "should be kept with tax year 2021 records."

Psaki's comments come after some have criticized the letter as an act of self-promotion and compared Biden's move to that of his predecessor, President Donald Trump, who sent a similar IRS letter to Americans about coronavirus stimulus checks enacted during his administration.

Biden's letter appears identical in format to the one Trump sent last spring. Both letters were mailed by the IRS, displayed the White House letterhead, were signed by the president, and were addressed to "My fellow American."

But Biden did not include his signature directly on the stimulus checks, which Trump did - a decision that may have delayed their delivery to the public. "We didn't have [Biden] sign the checks because we were concerned about any impact that would have on delaying them going out to the public," Psaki reiterated on Friday.

At the time, Trump's letter prompted criticism that he was politicizing the IRS for his benefit. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group, called Trump's letter "self-aggrandizing."

The organization reacted negatively to Biden's letter as well.

"This trend toward presidents sending self-serving signed letters at taxpayer expense is unfortunate regardless of who does it," said Noah Bookbinder, CREW's president. "I hope that President Biden will not learn the wrong lessons from his predecessor and continue this kind of tactic."

Read the original article on Business Insider