Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced on Wednesday that President Trump is considering sending checks to Americans to offset the economic impact of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
“We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Mnuchin said at a press conference. “Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now. And I mean now, in the next two weeks.”
Mnuchin said the Trump administration would preview the plan within the next two weeks before approval. The treasury secretary indicated he was in conversation with Republican senators regarding the plan, and that the administration was considering checks for the amount of $1,000, although it’s not clear if the checks would go to individuals or families.
On Monday Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) expressed support for giving all Americans $1,000 in the midst of the pandemic.
“Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy,” Romney said. “Congress took similar action during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options.”
On Tuesday, Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) introduced a plan to give monthly payments to working families for the duration of the pandemic.
“Struggling families need help, and they don’t have time to sort through confusing rules and mandates about who’s paying for what and how,” Hawley said. “These families need relief — now — to pay bills that are coming due, make those emergency grocery runs, and get ready for potential medical bills.”
The plan is targeted to families with married parents making $100,000 or less, and single-parents making $50,000 or less.
Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) has also expressed support for giving cash stipends to workers affected by the crisis. Cotton on Monday critiqued emergency spending legislation passed by the House as being too complicated, relying on paid sick leave and refundable tax credits when it would be faster to give cash payments directly to Americans.
The Trump administration has requested Congress approve an $850 million economic stimulus to counter the effects of the pandemic. $50 million of that amount would be set aside for the airline industry, which has been hit particularly hard by the crisis.