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Coronavirus: Trump 'looking at sending $1,000 checks to Americans immediately' to battle economic slowdown

White House 'looking at sending checks to Americans immediately', Treasury secretary says

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 17 March 2020 17:24 GMT
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Steven Mnuchin says coronavirus 'worse than 9/11' for airline industry

Donald Trump's secretary of the Treasury Department said the president wants to potentially send Americans checks of $1,000 or more to help battle the slowdown of the US economy in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking during a press briefing on Tuesday, Steven Mnuchin said the the White House was “looking at sending checks to Americans immediately” that would amount to more than $1,000 in some cases, though the move has not yet been officially confirmed or outlined by the administration.

"The president has instructed me we have to do this now", he said at the White House briefing.

The Treasury secretary didn't give details except to say the amount should be significant and millionaires would not get it.

"We want to make sure Americans get money in their pockets quickly", Mr Mnuchin said.

The stock market rose during the briefing after a savage drop Monday.

The White House on Tuesday was asking Congress to approve a massive emergency rescue package to help businesses as well as taxpayers cope with the economic crisis that is paired with the pandemic.

Mr Mnuchin planned to outline that roughly $850 billion package to Senate Republicans at a private lunch, with officials aiming to have Congress approve it this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, opening the Senate on Tuesday morning, promised swift action.

"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", Mr McConnell said.

Bigger than the 2008 bank bailout or the 2009 recovery act, the White House proposal aims to provide a massive tax cut for wage-earners, $50 billion for the airline industry and relief for small businesses.

Two people familiar with the request described it to Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorised to speak publicly.

Additional reporting by AP

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