On Tuesday, President Donald Trump called on Congress to quickly approve a sweeping economic stimulus package. The package would send checks directly to Americans within weeks as large parts of today’s economy is shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We want to go big,” Donald Trump said at a news conference at the White House. Donald Trump said he instructed Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury Secretary, to introduce measures, which would provide more immediate support.
Munichin told Republican senators Tuesday the Trump administration wanted Congress to add about $850 billion in additional stimulus to boost the economy. Mr. Trump signaled he wanted the payroll tax to be a major part of that effort.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Mr. Mnuchin said at the White House.
According to The New York Times, the Treasury secretary told Republican senators privately he sees the direct payments covering two weeks of pay and would total $250 billion.
The goal of the checks would be to deliver them by the end of April with additional checks if the national crisis continues, The New York Times reports.
“This is a very unique situation in this economy,” Mr. Mnuchin said on Capitol Hill. “We have put a proposal on the table that would inject $1 trillion into the economy.”
Mnuchin added, “The president wants to put money in the economy now,” he said.
The administration is negotiating with lawmakers over the contents of the stimulus package. Republicans are pushing back and are insisting on a stricter relief package in comparison to the one the House passed last week. Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill, which includes paid leave, unemployment insurance, free coronavirus testing and additional financial aid. A bill both Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi called as a critical first step in providing relief ahead of a larger stimulus plan to boost the American economy.
That said, Senator Mitch McConnel, Republican of Kentucky and the major leader, said the Senate would try to pass the House bill first and then move on to a stimulus package of “larger proportions.”
“What I can tell you is we are not leaving town until we have constructed and passed another bill,” Mr. McConnell said.
Both sides of the aisle are racing to propose a way to boost the economy including direct payments with little support for the payroll tax holiday, which was previously suggested by President Trump.
On Tuesday, Mnuchin said Trump advised him to allow for the deferment of income tax payment, interest-free and penalty-free, for 90 days. People can defer up to $1 million and corporations and can defer up to $10 million in payments.
Mnuchin said they would inject $300 billion into the economy. He added people can file their taxes now should as they would get a tax refund sooner.
The Trump administration is also pushing for a $50 billion in economic relief for the airline industry. The airline industry lobby group publicly made a request earlier this week asking for grants, loan guarantees, and tax relief. The Trump administration is also looking at ways to support the cruise industry.
Boeing, the aviation company that is already facing issues due to the grounding of 737 Max airlines, could receive additional help, according to President Trump.
Widespread travel restrictions are hurting both industries and are expected to lead to major damage to the global economy. The New York Times reports tourism could drop 50% over the next six weeks.
There is a growing sense of urgency at the White House to step in with aggressive measures to help the American economy and ease the growing anxiety many Americans are now experiencing.