Mar 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Mnuchin: "We're looking at sending Americans checks immediately" during coronavirus crisis

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the Trump administration is discussing sending checks to Americans "immediately" to help cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Driving the news: Mnuchin, who has been working closely with bipartisan leadership on Capitol Hill to pass new legislation to provide coronavirus relief, announced a series of economic stimulus efforts at the White House designed to help small businesses, corporations and individuals.

What he's saying: "Americans need cash now," Mnuchin said. "And I mean now — in the next two weeks."

  • It's still unclear who would get money and how much, but Mnuchin indicated it would be aimed at those hurt most by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • "We don't need to send people who make a million dollars a year checks," Mnuchin said.
  • Some on Capitol Hill and liberal and conservative economists have called for direct government payments of $1,000 to every American adult. Mnuchin said the amount of each check "may be a little bit bigger than what's in the press."

Other highlights:

  • Mnuchin also announced that the government will defer up to $300 billion in tax payments, allowing individuals to defer up to $1 million and corporations to defer up to $10 million — interest-free and penalty-free for 90 days.
  • He said that the administration intends to keep financial markets open, but shorter hours may be necessary.

Go deeper

Mnuchin denies Trump has been "wrong" about his own coronavirus policies

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that President Trump has gotten things "wrong" about his own coronavirus proposals, despite the administration having to walk back several of the policies Trump outlined in his Oval Office address on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The president's credibility is being called into question during a global health crisis that is likely to worsen.

Behind the scenes: Why Trump changed his mind about Easter

President Trump shows off a COVID-19 test kit by Abbott in the Rose Garden yesterday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Scenes out of New York, including bleak hospital images played on Fox News, struck a nerve with President Trump and caused him to drop his aspiration of reopening America by Easter, senior administration officials tell Axios.

Between the lines: By the time the president's medical advisers showed him modeling on Sunday of predicted deaths, emotional and economic factors had been bearing on him for days.

McConnell releases Phase 3 coronavirus stimulus proposal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposal for a "Phase 3" stimulus package in response to the coronavirus outbreak includes cash payments to many Americans and billions for small and large businesses.

Why it matters: The plan would be part of one of the largest and most expensive stimulus packages in American history.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy