President Donald Trump continues to push to re-open all or at least parts of the nation by Easter even as he calls for Congressional approval of a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill.
“We want to get everybody back working,” Trump said of the bill he said may be larger than any other similar deal ever, perhaps saving the New Deal. He made the remarks during the daily White House briefing on the administration’s response to the coronavirus.
Trump said provisions that are pending include $350 billion in retention loans for small businesses if they continue to pay their workers; $300 billion in direct cash payments to taxpayers earning less than $99,000 per year, or around $3,400 for a typical family of four; up to $250 billion in expanded unemployment benefits for 100 percent of a salary for up to four months, including for independent contractors and self-employed; over $100 billion for the medical industry; $45 billion to double the ongoing disaster relief; $27 billion to build up the depleted strategic stockpile with gear like masks and more; more funding for vaccine development; help for the hardest-hit industries with a ban on corporate buybacks and limits on executive compensation; and $16 billion for personal protective equipment for medical workers.
The president said he has approved many states’ emergency declarations, including New York’s.
The federal government is building hospitals and medical centers in different places, including the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The U.S. is doing more coronavirus testing than any nation, including South Korea. Trump said he congratulated the Japanese prime minister for making the right decision in postponing the Olympics for one year. The 2021 Olympics will be “beautiful.”
FEMA is delivering 9.4 million N95 masks around the nation and 20 million surgical masks. The government just sent New York 4,000 ventilators.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin:
If the stimulus is approved as presented, small businesses stand to loans covering 50 percent of payrolls in loans for eight weeks if they keep workers employed, and that will be forgiven. He said he hopes to have a system late next week for banks to issue the funds in a single day.
For companies that do not qualify for that, there would be a program of tax incentives to retain workers.
Stimulus payments to most taxpayers could be sent in three weeks through direct deposits, or through checks if they don’t have accounts.
“This is going to be an enormous help for American workers and the American economy.”