• Some Americans may start to see their new stimulus check for $600 hit their bank accounts as soon as tonight.
  • That’s according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that the disbursement process is now underway — and that stimulus checks in paper form would be sent out starting on Wednesday.
  • Congress is still trying to work out whether it will approve sending Americans a $2,000 stimulus check.

Check your bank account online later tonight, because it sounds like some people may see their new stimulus check for $600 deposited into their account as soon as this evening, according to a series of tweets Tuesday from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Mnuchin had previously said that the vast majority of disbursements following the approval of $600 stimulus checks as part of the recently passed $900 billion COVID relief bill will come in the form of direct deposits into individual bank accounts. That means the process should unfold considerably faster than it did the first time around earlier this year, after Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act — which then meant new systems and tools needed to be put into place to disburse and track the money, not to mention Americans needing to give their bank information to the IRS if they hadn’t already.

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In addition to the news he shared Tuesday (via the tweet you can find below) that the $600 stimulus checks could start hitting some bank accounts tonight, Mnuchin added that a wave of paper check mailouts will start to occur on Wednesday. “The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy,” Mnuchin told CNBC host Jim Cramer. “People go out and spend this money, and that helps small business and that helps getting more people back to work.”

The $600 stimulus check amounts, of course, are half of the amount that was made possible via the CARES Act in March (which provided for $1,200 checks). Because the coronavirus pandemic has considerably worsened since then, there’s been a widespread push among lawmakers who’ve argued that because the pandemic is much worse now than in March, the stimulus checks should be bigger rather than smaller.

The House on Monday night passed a bill to bump up the stimulus check payments to $2,000 with a two-thirds majority, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer followed that up on Tuesday by attempting to pass the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act by unanimous consent on the Senate floor. However, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the request, and it only takes one senator to object to such a request to defeat it.

Shortly after McConnell did so, President Trump blasted the move on Twitter:

Meanwhile, given that $600 stimulus checks are now starting to be sent out, it’s unclear what that means for the push for $2,000 checks. It sounds like a big mess is potentially in the works, because if the Senate, by some miracle, does approve $2,000 stimulus checks in a few days, people would be in a position where some Americans would have already received $600. So a wave of additional $1,400 checks would presumably have to be sent to those earlier $600 recipients, and $2,000 checks to everyone else.

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Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.