Donald Trump plans massive US stimulus to fight COVID-19

He said the administration had opted to release a “big, bold” package to stimulate the economy rather than a series of piecemeal measures over several weeks.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he wanted to get cash into Americans' hands immediately.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he wanted to get cash into Americans’ hands immediately. Credit:AP

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said: “We are looking at sending cheques to Americans immediately.

“Americans need cash now, and the president wants to get cash now – and I mean now in the next two weeks.”

He said: “You can think of this as something like business interruption payments for the American workers.”

Mnuchin suggested the payments to Americans could exceed the US$1000 amount recommended by Republican Senator Mitt Romney.

He said that millionaires would not receive the cheques, suggesting some means-testing would apply to the payments.

More details of the package are expected to be released later in the day.

The President originally wanted a payroll tax cut to be the centrepiece of the stimulus package, but has abandoned that idea after being convinced it would take too long to roll out and would not deliver cash to enough Americans.

The administration is also expected to deliver approximately US$50billion in relief to keep airline companies afloat.


“This is worse than 9/11,” Mnuchin said. “For the airline industry they are almost ground to a halt.”

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has already passed a US$100 billion-plus package to provide paid sick leave, unemployment insurance and other benefits for workers affected by the virus.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said he would move for the Senate to immediately pass the House bill.

The Senate will then stay in session until it has passed a major stimulus package, he said.

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