On Tuesday afternoon, Donald Trump’s administration expressed support for sending direct cash payments to Americans, in an attempt to ease the economic burden of the coronavirus.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said of the $850 billion economic stimulus package. “And I mean, now in the next two weeks.”
Both Republicans and Democrats are in support of the bill. Although Trump had initially supported a payroll tax holiday, he said Tuesday that would take too long to help American citizens.
“Payroll tax is one way, but it does come over a period of months, many months,” Trump said. “And we want to do something much faster than that. So I think we have ways of getting money out pretty quickly and very accurately.”
Mnuchin will present details to the Senate later today. The stimulus package will be devoted to flooding the economy with cash, officials said.
White House officials also want to offer more assistance for small businesses that have been affected by the virus, in addition to their employees. The Dow Jones industrial average fell almost 3,000 points on Monday, but since then, it has shown signs of a steady rebound.
“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,” Trump said Tuesday.
The $850 billion be distributed in addition to another $100 billion-plus package passed by the House that covers worker benefits.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he anticipated “urgent talks” with Mnuchin on the stimulus package.
“It’s my intention that the Senate will not adjourn until we have passed significant and bold new steps above and beyond what the House has passed to help our strong nation and our strong underlying economy weather this storm,” McConnell said.
The massive package is the most aggressive step Congress has taken as it moves rapidly to address aspects of the pandemic.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney discussed direct cash payments of $1,000, which Romney and Mnuchin discussed Monday night.
“That’s one of the ideas we like,” Mnuchin said Tuesday.
That stimulus package must still pass the Senate after the House approved modifications late Monday.
“I think it is terrific President Trump has come around to the idea that Americans should get checks. They shouldn’t have to go to a workplace to get it,” said Jason Furman, an Obama administration economist who has been pushing the idea with congressional Democrats. “This should be a commonsense, bipartisan idea … I hope it becomes law by the end of the week.”