The Trump administration on Tuesday said they are “looking at sending checks to Americans immediately” – possibly within the next two weeks to help workers cope with the economic effects of the coronavirus.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters at the White House briefing room alongside President Trump. “What we heard from hardworking Americans, many companies are now shut down whether bars or restaurants, Americans need cash now and the president wants to get them cash now. I mean now in the next two weeks.
“You can think of this as something like business interruption payments for the American workers. We want to make sure Americans get money in their pockets quickly,” he said, adding that more details would be revealed later today.
When asked on how quickly this could come together, Mnuchin responded, “The president has instructed me, we have to do this now. This is now.”
President Trump said he initially supported a payroll tax cut as one of the payment method, but the administration stated it would take “six to eight months” for Americans to get the money.
“We’re looking at payroll tax and we’re looking at other various forms of getting money to people,” Trump said. “Payroll tax is one way, but it does come over a period of months, many months. We want to do something much faster than that. So I think we have ways of getting money out pretty quickly and very accurately.”
Sen. Mitt Romney(R-UT) proposed on Monday the idea of giving every Americans $1,000 to help meet financial obligations. A group of Senate Democrats, led by Michael Bennet of Colorado, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are proposing as much as $4,500 to each American.
The Treasury Secretary said they are considering putting an income cap on who would receive the one-time payments.
“I think it’s clear we don’t need to send people who make a million dollars a year checks, but that’s one of the ideas we like,” he said.
Mnuchin will discuss details with Senate Republicans later on Tuesday. The Trump administration is seeking a $850 billion economic stimulus package from Congress in order to address the economic impact of the coronavirus. The proposal includes payments to small business and loan guarantees to critical industries such as airlines and hotels.
“At my direction, Secretary Mnuchin is meeting today with senators on additional stimulus packages,” Trump said. “We’re giving relief to affected industries and small businesses, and we’re ensuring that we emerge from this challenge with a prosperous and growing economy, because that’s what’s going to happen.”
“We want to go big, go solid,” Trump added. “We don’t want airlines going out of business or people losing their jobs and not having money to live.”
U.S. stocks received a boost during the briefing after announcing economic efforts to offset the financial damage caused by the outbreak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared to 1,000 with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 notching gains of around 6 percent each.
The gains follows the market’s worst sell-off in more than three decades on Monday.