The White House is seeking a stimulus package worth anywhere from $850 billion to more than $1 trillion, according to CNBC sources.
Later Tuesday (March 17), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told GOP senators that unemployment could reach 20% if Congress doesn’t enact the stimulus package, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The US administration official said the package could include:
$500 billion to $550 billion in direct payments or tax cuts
$200 billion to $300 billion in small business assistance
$50 billion to $100 billion in airline and industry relief
Potentially $250 billion of the package could go toward making direct payments to Americans, a White House official told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday (March 17). Mnuchin said earlier that the administration wants to get emergency funds in Americans’ pockets “immediately.”
“Americans need cash now,” Mnuchin said during a White House press briefing on the administration’s latest efforts to combat the disease. “I mean now in the next two weeks.”
Millionaires are unlikely to be among those who receive relief in the form of direct payments.
The White House will now have to negotiate a package with US Congress. The measure will need to balance aiding individuals and workers in need, as well as industries it has already said it wants to support. The administration has made clear its view that the airline industry is essential. President Donald Trump and Mnuchin have also noted the cruise and hotel industries are facing particular challenges as travel has shut down.
“We don’t want airlines going out of business. We don’t people losing their jobs,” the president Trump said.
Democrats, though, have made clear that any support to industries must come with significant aid to workers.
“Any economic relief should be contingent on the benefits flowing to workers and their families, not CEOs and shareholders,” Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, told CNBC.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday (March 17) outlined her own set of stipulations for any Big Business that receives federal bailout money. They include permanently giving up stock buy-backs and adding at least one seat to the board representing workers.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office said Monday (March 16) that he will put forth his own plan with at least $750 billion in spending to combat the coronavirus pandemic. It would include forbearance on federal loans, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, assistance for small businesses and emergency child care.
Trump earlier this month signed an $8.3 billion funding package aimed at vaccine research and supporting states battling the virus.