Call it a kind of coronavirus vaccine for the economy!
The Trump administration is considering a third coronavirus spending package worth hundreds of billions of dollars even as the Senate works to move along the more modest second relief bill that focuses on leave for workers and expedited testing for the disease officially known as COVID-19.
The White House is specifically pushing for an $850 billion stimulus, largely in the form of tax relief measures. Roughly $500 billion of this would be tied to a payroll tax cut, while $250 billion would come in the form of Small Business Administration loans and another $58 billion would be directed to the airline industry, among other measures.
The Washington Post first reported Tuesday morning that Mnuchin’s proposal would come with the $850 billion price tag. The Post, citing anonymous sources, reported that Mnuchin’s proposal would focus mainly on putting cash in the hands of individuals and businesses.
Coming out of a closed-door meeting with Republican senators later that afternoon, Mnuchin told reporters the proposal “on the table” would put “a trillion dollars into the economy” to help combat the impacts of coronavirus.
“That is on top of the 300 billion from the IRS deferrals. Now let me say this is a combination of loans, this is a combination of direct checks to individuals, this is a combination of creating liquidity for small businesses. So we look forward to working with the Senate,” he said.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would vote on the House bill as soon as the Senate “can get permission to vote.”
Meanwhile, the White House has said it wants to adopt a measure originally presented by Utah Senator, Mitt Romney, to immediately send checks out to qualifying taxpayers.
“We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a news conference at the White House Tuesday.
“Americans need cash now,” Mnuchin said. “And I mean now in the next two weeks.”
President Donald Trump, who had initially floated a payroll tax holiday, said that he favored more immediate action that could inject cash into American’s pockets faster than waiting for the next payday.
“I think we are going to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible,” Trump said. “We will have a pretty good idea at the end of the day what we will be doing.”
It is unclear who would get money and how much, but Mnuchin indicated that it would be aimed towards those most hurt by the outbreak.
“We don’t need to send people who make million dollars a year checks,” Mnuchin said.