US Treasury sets up new ‘collection office’ to oversee relief programs
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday unveiled a new office to oversee the implementation of economic relief programs, including nearly $ 420 billion in programs under the president’s COVID-19 bailout Joe Biden of $ 1.9 trillion.
The new office will report to Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and will be headed by Jacob Leibenluft, Advisor to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who will work closely with Gene Sperling, the White House bailout coordinator.
Consolidation of recovery programs covered by Biden’s US Rescue Plan (ARP) and others enacted as part of the Trump administration’s CARES Act will improve efficiency, fairness and beneficiary awareness, a Adeyemo told reporters.
“Many of these programs are new to the Treasury, and have so far been located in disparate parts of the Treasury,” Adeyemo said.
“In order to ensure their efficient administration and to create a single point of entry for grant recipients, we are creating an umbrella office, the Office of Recovery Programs.”
One of the lessons learned from previous recovery programs was the importance of reaching out to ensure underserved communities also have access to finance, a treasury official told reporters.
The new office aims to facilitate the access of communities, businesses and households to relief.
“Insufficient attention to fairness can have real consequences, so … it’s at the center of everything we do here,” the official said, adding that the Treasury was working to create systems and processes that encouraged the most equitable distribution possible.
Leibenluft said the office would “work around the clock to engage with stakeholders, understand the needs of communities across the country and quickly implement relief for those who need it most.”
The new office will oversee programs including the Public and Local Finance Recovery Fund, Emergency Rental Assistance, Homeowners Assistance Fund, State Small Business Credit Initiative and the Fund for investment projects.
Others include the Economic Relief for Coronavirus Transportation Services (CERTS) program, the payroll support program, the coronavirus relief fund, and the airline and national security loan program.
Collection programs disbursed through the tax code, including stimulus checks and the enhanced child tax credit, will continue to be led by the Office of Treasury Tax Policy, the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of Fiscal Service.
The Treasury and IRS on Wednesday announced the disbursement of nearly two million additional payments in a fifth round of economic impact payments under the ARP, bringing the total disbursed so far to around 159 million payments. valued at over $ 376 billion, the Treasury said.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Jan Harvey