White House
White House

The Trump administration on Tuesday expressed its intent to offer cash payments for working Americans as part of an economic stimulus package amid coronavirus fallout.

“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a White House press briefing. “And I mean now, in the next two weeks.” When asked how much the cash payments could be, Mnuchin told reporters that he is meeting with lawmakers on the issue, adding that “they may be a little bit bigger than what’s in the press.” In an attempt to further lessen financial stress for Americans, Mnuchin said individual taxpayers can delay paying taxes of up to 1 million dollars and companies can defer tax payments of up to 10 million dollars. This could provide 300 billion dollars of liquidity to the economy, compared with 200 billion dollars proposed last week, he said.

The U.S. treasury secretary noted that the expected economic stimulus package will support small businesses, airlines and hotels. “We are going to use all the tools we have, if we don’t have them, we’ll go to Congress,” said Mnuchin. “There is wide range of bipartisan support.” Mnuchin also reiterated President Donald Trump’s interest in seeking a payroll tax, which, however, has sparked backlash from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Despite stock market volatility in recent days, Mnuchin said the administration believes in keeping the markets open and that Americans need to know they have access to their money. He added that “we may get to a point where we may shorten the hours.” Earlier in the day, Bloomberg reported that Mnuchin is negotiating with lawmakers on an 850-billion-dollar stimulus plan to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, citing people familiar with the matter.

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