Trump announces $850B coronavirus stimulus package

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Tuesday about a stimulus package his administration is planning, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. Photo Kevin Dietsch/UPI

March 17 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he’s confident the United States will rebound quickly from the coronavirus outbreak, as his administration outlined an $850 billion economic stimulus program.

Trump, speaking at a White House briefing with his Coronavirus Task Force, said the United States will rebound “stronger than ever” after beating the virus.

“If we do this right, our country and the world, frankly … can be rolling again pretty quickly,” he said. “We have to fight that invisible enemy that I guess is unknown, but we’re getting to know it a lot better.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin provided new details about the mega-stimulus plan that’s designed to help business and Americans cope with economic fallout and isolation.

The package, Mnuchin said, would include payments to small businesses, loan guarantees to travel industries and stimulus for American workers — possibly in the form of $1,000 payments for Americans who meet certain income guidelines.

“You can think of this as something like business interruption payments for the American workers,” he said, adding that he would like to see the stimulus payments sent out within two weeks.

“I think it’s clear we don’t need to send people who make a million dollars a year checks, but [check payments are] one of the ideas we like,” he added. “We’re going to preview that today and we’ll be talking about details afterwards.”

The substantial package also includes proposals for deferring $300 billion in taxes for as many as 90 days without interest or penalty, and a $10 billion investment to allow the Federal Reserve to buy up to $1 trillion in corporate debt for companies facing bankruptcy due to a lack of liquidity.

“This is critical to American workers, it’s critical to American business, and it’s critical to American savers who have a lot of that money in money market funds,” the Treasury chief said. “We heard loud and clear there were liquidity issues, this is very significant.”

Mnuchin said he plans to meet with Senate Republicans to forge details of the package and hopes to finalize it by the end of Tuesday.

In response to the airline industry’s call for help, about $50 billion in the package is earmarked to help American carriers with lack of passenger demand during the coronavirus interruption, which Mnuchin said has been “worse than 9/11.”

It’s unclear exactly how the package would distribute the payments to Americans. Trump had earlier raised the possibility of a payroll tax cut, but he said Tuesday he now prefers doing so another way to deliver the aid quickly.

“We’re giving relief to affected industries and small businesses, and we’re ensuring that we emerge from this challenge with a prosperous and growing economy, because that’s what’s going to happen,” Trump said.


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