Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday laid out details of the Trump administration’s plan to send Americans relief money as part of a massive stimulus package to blunt the impact of the novel coronavirus crisis.
Mnuchin said in a Fox Business Network interview that the plan, which is being discussed with congressional leaders of both parties, would send payments totaling $500 billion directly to Americans. That money would be divided into two large tranches.
“The first one would be $1,000 per person, $500 per child,” Mnuchin said. “So for a family of four, that’s a $3,000 payment. As soon as Congress passes this, we get this out in three weeks. And then, six weeks later, if the president still has a national emergency, we’ll deliver another $3,000,” Mnuchin said.
The Trump administration’s proposal comes as stocks continue to fall, jobless claims start to rise and the number of Americans infected with or killed by the COVID-19 virus continues to expand.
Mnuchin said the White House’s plan would also allocate $300 billion for small businesses, noting that “there will be loan forgiveness” for employees who keep their workers on the payroll. $200 billion would also be used for “more facilities” with the Federal Reserve, as well as secured lending to airlines and other critical industries being strangled by the crisis.
The administration’s plan may face opposition on Capitol Hill, however. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., argued on the floor of his chamber Wednesday that sending one-or-two-time checks would not provide enough to support people who lose their jobs.
Schumer suggested instead that providing expanded and “beefed-up” unemployment insurance would cover Americans “for a much longer time and would provide a much bigger safety net.”
Mnuchin has spoken with Schumer multiple times over the past few days. President Donald Trump has already approved multiple emergency aid packages aimed at slowing the spread of the virus and helping Americans who could lose their jobs or otherwise be affected. An increasing number of cities and states have banned large gatherings of people and have forced many businesses to limit their services, sparking fears that mass unemployment could follow.
Earlier this month, the president signed into law an $8.3 billion bill that sailed through Congress with near-unanimous support. On Wednesday, Trump signed an additional $100 billion package that includes provisions for emergency paid leave for workers as well as free testing for the deadly virus
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