The Trump administration is looking at sending money to Americans affected by the new coronavirus “immediately,” a top official said Tuesday.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the White House.
“Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now—and I mean now in the next two weeks.”
“We’re looking at getting people money as quickly as possible,” President Donald Trump added. “We’ll have a pretty good idea by the end of the day what we’re going to be doing.”
The proposal, which would entail Americans receiving checks rumored to be $1,000, is part of a larger economic stimulus package Mnuchin is pitching to Senate Republicans on Tuesday. Mnuchin already spoke once with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) prior to the press briefing.
The package includes payments to small businesses, loan guarantees for airlines and hotels, and business interruption payments for workers.
Mnuchin said there may be an income limitation for eligible recipients, noting that the administration does not want someone making over a million dollars getting a $1,000 check.
But because of the speed of the plan, some people who have a lot of money might still get checks, Trump admitted.
The treasury recently took other steps to stimulate the economy, including allowing the Federal Reserve to purchase up to $1 trillion in financial papers.
Trump said the virus is an “invisible enemy” that’s forcing officials to come up with solutions. The current plan has support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“We don’t want people losing their jobs or not having money to live when they were doing very well just four weeks ago,” the president said.
Mnuchin departed the briefing early after meeting with lawmakers.
“This is stuff that needs to be done now,” he said.
Trump also authorized Mnuchin to defer $300 billion in taxes for individuals and small businesses for 90 days. Americans who can file taxes on time are being encouraged to since many will get tax refunds.
Individuals can defer up to $1 million, which will cover pass-throughs and small businesses, and corporations can defer up to $10 million.
“All you have to do is file your taxes. You’ll automatically not get charged interest and penalties,” Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin told reporters that the United States does not intend to close stock markets.
“We absolutely believe in keeping the markets open. Americans need to know they have access to their money,” he said.