US Treasury Department creates office to oversee virus reliefThursday, April 15, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (AP) — The Treasury Department has created a new office to supervise the disbursement of the billions of dollars in relief money authorised by Congress to combat the coronavirus-related recession.
Officials said yesterday that the goal is to streamline the process and ensure all eligible groups have access to the aid.
The Office of Recovery Programs will oversee the release of US$420 billion in support from the US$1.9-trillion package that President Joe Biden pushed through Congress last month, the Treasury said. That package included payments to individuals, extended emergency unemployment benefits, rental and mortgage assistance, support loans for airlines and national security industries, as well as payments to small businesses and state and local governments.
The new office will also be responsible for supervising programmes under the control of the Treasury that were approved by Congress last year. In all, Congress has approved around US$5 trillion in assistance to help millions of people who lost their jobs, and also businesses that were forced to close due to the pandemic.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the goal of the new office is to “get relief distributed quickly and into the hands of those who need it most”.
In a separate report yesterday, the Treasury said that another two-million relief payments, with a value of more than US$3.4 billion, have been disbursed over the past week.
That brings the total payments made since March 12 to US$159 million with a value of more than US$376 billion. These individual payments total up to $1,400 per person, with the large bulk of the money coming in the form of direct bank deposits made by the IRS.
The new office will be led by Jacob Leibenluft, who was designated as the treasury's chief recovery officer. He will work closely with Gene Sperling, named by Biden as White House coordinator for the Government's rescue efforts.
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