President Donald Trump is asking Congress to unleash a torrent of emergency economic aid to help people through the financial pain of the coronavirus crisis, with sizable checks directly to Americans as part of the deal.
Trump wants checks out to the public within two weeks, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday as state and local officials acted more forcefully to restrict gatherings and mobility in the face of growing sickness. “The president has instructed me we have to do this now."
The proposal to send checks requires approval from Congress. Details were scant, except Mnuchin said the yet-to-be disclosed amount should be significant and millionaires won't get it.
"We want to make sure Americans get money in their pockets quickly," Mnuchin said. After a savage drop Monday, the stock market rose during the briefing at which Trump and his aides sketched out elements of the economic rescue package.
Mnuchin was pitching the roughly $850 billion package to Senate Republicans at a private lunch, with officials aiming to have Congress approve it this week. Some lawmakers were skeptical. “I’m going to be very leery of doing something like in 2008,” said Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun.
But the other senator from Indiana, Todd Young, chairman of the Republican Senate campaign committee, said he was open to approving $1,000 checks and wants aid out the door as as soon as possible. He said he was the only passenger on his flight back to Washington.
Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised swift action of some sort.
“The Senate will not adjourn until we have passed significant and bold new steps above and beyond what the House has passed to help our strong nation and our strong underlying economy weather this storm," McConnell said.