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Democrats raise red flags over Biden’s pricey rescue package

Congressional Democrats sounded the alarm Tuesday over key parts of the $1.9 trillion relief package they just voted for, saying they’re concerned the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to get checks out the door quickly to families and small businesses.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told House lawmakers that implementing the massive law is a work in progress and that tax increases likely will be needed to pay for more of President Biden’s spending plans.

Rep. David Scott, Georgia Democrat, said he’s concerned that some members of the public can only use an IRS tool to check the status of their payment and not to fix or change their delivery information.

“All of us need to hurry up,” Mr. Scott told Ms. Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. “We put these things in place so we could reach those who have been excluded very quickly — they need the money as quickly as everyone else.”

Democrats used a fast-track budget process, known as budget reconciliation in Washington-speak, to speed the $1.9 trillion package through the Senate without any Republican votes.

he rescue package was the biggest legislative accomplishment so far for Mr. Biden and his Democrats. They desperately want it to roll out smoothly and show voters they know how to run Washington.

It could be months before Democrats score another legislative win in the narrowly divided Congress. The budget reconciliation move can typically be used only once a year.

“Everybody cannot get this payment through electronic accounts,” Mr. Scott said.

More than a dozen Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee separately pressed Ms. Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in a Tuesday letter on Treasury’s outreach efforts to make people aware of their eligibility.

“We are concerned that families facing the most severe burdens are the least likely to receive the newly enacted relief measures, which often require the filing of a tax return or providing other information to the IRS,” they wrote.

President Biden said that by Wednesday, 100 million direct payments of up to $1,400, a key feature of the package, will have gone out.

“For someone who doesn’t have direct deposit, they’re getting a check in the mail for all of that,” Mr. Biden said as he touted the $1.9 trillion law in Ohio.

Ways and Means Democrats also pressed Mr. Rettig this week on reports that certain Social Security and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries were not getting the payments to which they were entitled.