White House eyes cash payment for working Americans amid Covid-19

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

"We're looking at sending checks to Americans immediately," US 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, he 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 reduce financial stress for Americans, Mnuchin said individual taxpayers can delay paying taxes of up to USD1 million and companies can defer tax payments of up to USD10 million.

This could provide USD300 billion of liquidity to the economy, compared with the USD200 billion proposed last week, he said.

Mnuchin said the expected economic stimulus package would 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," he said. "There is (a) 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, he said the administration believes in keeping the markets open and that Americans need to know they have access to their money.

"We may get to a point where we may shorten the hours," he added.

Earlier in the day, Bloomberg reported that Mnuchin is negotiating with lawmakers on an USD850-billion stimulus plan to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak, citing people familiar with the matter.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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