President Joe Biden’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave a huge number of prison inmates at least $1.3 billion in COVID-19 stimulus checks, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
There are more than 1.1 million incarcerated individuals who took in the stimulus money, according to IRS data provided to the Free Beacon, as part of Biden’s $1.4 trillion American Rescue Plan. Those incarcerated who received the stimulus money includes roughly 163,000 people serving life sentences without parole, the IRS told Republican Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon in a letter obtained by the outlet.
“Democrats had every opportunity to stop taxpayer dollars from going to convicted criminals,” Mike Palicz, federal affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform, a group seeking to lower federal spending, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Instead, Democrats blocked a Republican amendment that would’ve prevented inmates from receiving stimulus payments and sent up to $1,400 checks to more than one million incarcerated criminals.”
The American Rescue Plan was signed by Biden in March 2021 in order to provide relief to Americans amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans earning $75,000 or less per year were eligible for a $1,400 stimulus check under the plan and married couples filing jointly earning $150,000 or less were eligible for a $2,800 check.
Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the stimulus package, claiming its price tag was far too high. Republican senators backed an amendment put forth by Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy in March 2021, which Democrats rejected, that would have blocked prisoners from getting stimulus checks.
“Individuals were not denied Economic Impact Payments solely because they were incarcerated,” the IRS says on its website under a frequently asked questions page about The American Rescue Plan, explaining that inmates may have received funds if they filed a tax return in 2019 and 2020.
It is unclear how many inmates facing the death penalty received stimulus checks.
A spokesman for the IRS told the DCNF the agency “does not track the information related to incarcerated individual’s sentences” and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told the Free Beacon he does not have data on the matter.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton had raised concerns in 2021 about the fact that under the plan prisoners would receive money, slamming the idea that someone like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 2013 Boston Marathon bomber, would get $1,400. Tsarnaev ended up raking in $1,400 in connection to the plan, the Boston Herald reported in January 2022.
“The Democratic Party is drunk with power, and their reckless billions in spending continue to funnel out of the United States Treasury with little to no guidance,” Republican Florida Rep. Byron Donalds told the DCNF upon learning of the IRS payments to prisoners.
The Treasury Department did not respond to a request for comment nor did The White House.
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