With most Americans locking themselves down, gatherings of more than 10 people highly discouraged, and restaurants and bars closing indefinitely — on St. Patrick’s Day, no less — the White House is reportedly preparing to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy.
The White House and Congress have moved quickly to craft two coronavirus spending packages, but President Trump is pushing another $850 billion stimulus, mostly in the form of tax relief measures, Fox News reports.
“Roughly $500 billion of this would be tied to a payroll tax cut, while $250 billion would come in the form of Small Business Administration loans and another $58 billion would be directed to the airline industry, among other measures,” reports Fox.
Late Monday, Trump posted a statement on Twitter assuring Americans that the government would “powerfully” support domestic industries hit hard by the coronavirus. “The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!” he wrote.
The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020
“The $850 billion package would come in addition to another roughly $100 billion package that aims to provide paid sick leave for impacted workers, though the details of that legislation remain very fluid as it moves through Congress,” The Washington Post reported.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will present details to Senate Republicans later Tuesday, The Post said. Mnuchin hopes the package will pass the Senate by the end of the week, he said in a meeting with senators on Monday night.
“Again we’ll be speaking to the Republicans at lunch tomorrow about the bill but we look forward to them taking it up and passing it,” Mnuchin told reporters. “But we got a lot more work to do and the main reason why we’re here tonight was talking to the Senate about other bills that they’re going to work on ASAP.”
After the meeting, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said, “I think the assumption’s going to be that we’re going to do something, it should be big. Because we can’t assume that we’re just going to keep coming back.”
Democrats are also moving along similar lines. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is talking up a $750 billion proposal that he announced Monday “to wage war against coronavirus and the economic crisis facing Americans.”
“As early as tomorrow, I will present a series of proposals to congressional appropriators that Senate Democrats believe should be part of the next bill to address the coronavirus,” Schumer said in floor remarks Monday. “In consultation with the ranking members of the committees of jurisdiction, we are proposing an immediate and initial infusion of at least $750 billion to wage war against COVID-19 and the economic crisis it is now causing.”
Here’s what my proposal to fight coronavirus would mean for you: pic.twitter.com/LTzPC3qrHU
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 17, 2020
Schumer said his bill will include expanded unemployment insurance, assistance to small businesses, money for schools to adapt to remote teaching and cash for hospitals, which are expected to be deluged as the virus spreads.
Trump last week signed the first coronavirus-related spending bill worth $8.3 billion, and the House of Representatives passed a second bill on Saturday morning, which the Senate is expected to take up on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, in a bipartisan move, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Monday proposed giving every American $1,000 to cover expenses that will occur with most of America on lockdown.