President Donald Trump announced a plan on Tuesday to send money to Americans immediately as part of efforts to stimulate the economy and help workers whose jobs have been disrupted by business closures due to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Americans need cash now, and the president wants to get cash now — and I mean in the next two weeks,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a White House briefing Tuesday.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately. What we’ve heard from hardworking Americans is many companies have shut down, whether it’s bars or restaurants,” Mnuchin said.
Large sectors of the economy are grinding to a near halt because of the novel coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent requests by federal, state, and local officials to shut down most business and ask people to self-isolate at home.
Other parts of the economy, like the cruise industry and airlines, are also reportedly looking for government assistance as officials ask people — especially the elderly — not to travel in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Mnuchin added that he’ll be previewing the amount of direct payments with Republicans later Tuesday, but suggested “they may be a little bit bigger than what’s in the press,” suggesting that individual payments could be higher than the $1,000.
The White House’s plan would likely include payments that are income-capped so high earns don’t receive unnecessary payouts.
“I think it’s clear we don’t need to send people who make a million dollars a year checks,” Mnuchin said.
Trump is also considering cutting payrol tax, but White House officials said that such measures would have long-term, not short-term, impacts.
Trump urged Americans not to travel and said they should just “enjoy their living room.”