Coronavirus: White House proposes sending checks to every American

President Trump at a Coronavirus Task Force briefing 3-17-20

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump wants the government to send checks to Americans in the next two weeks in an effort to curb the economic cost of the coronavirus outbreak, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.

>>Coronavirus: Washington updates

“The president has instructed me we have to do this now,” he said at the White House briefing. He didn’t give details except to say the amount should be significant and millionaires would not get it.

“We want to make sure Americans get money in their pockets quickly,” Mnuchin said. The stock market rose during the briefing after a savage drop Monday.

“I think we’re going to do something that gets money to (Americans affected by COVID-19) as quickly as possible,” Trump said. "That may not be an accurate way of doing it, because obviously some people shouldn’t be getting checks for $1,000, but we’ll have a pretty good idea by the end of the day what we’re going to be doing.”

The White House on Tuesday was asking Congress to approve a massive emergency rescue package to help businesses as well as taxpayers cope with the economic crisis that is paired with the pandemic.

Mnuchin planned to outline that roughly $850 billion package to Senate Republicans at a private lunch, with officials aiming to have Congress approve it this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, opening the Senate on Tuesday morning, promised swift action.

“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.

Bigger than the 2008 bank bailout or the 2009 recovery act, the White House proposal aims to provide a massive tax cut for wage-earners, $50 billion for the airline industry and relief for small businesses.

Two people familiar with the request described it to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Trump predicts economy will ‘pop back’ after coronavirus

President Trump said Tuesday that he expects the U.S. economy to “pop back like nobody’s ever seen before" once the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

“We will be up here saying, ‘Well, we won.’ We’ll say that,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “Sure as you’re sitting there, we’ll say that. We are going to win. I think we are going to win faster than people think. I hope.”

Some economists say a recession is already underway as broad swaths of the economy come closer to a standstill due to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to outline a White House economic package aimed at supporting Americans through the viral outbreak at a private lunch Tuesday with Senate Republicans. Officials aim to have Congress approve the measure this week.

Trump announces expansion of COVID-19 testing authority, tele-health initiatives

President Trump announced a pair of initiatives Tuesday aimed at aiding states and Americans amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

During a news briefing Tuesday, Trump said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded its policies to allow state officials to authorize the use of coronavirus tests used within their borders.

“All states can now authorize tests developed and used within their borders in addition to the FDA,” Trump said.

The president also announced a “dramatic expansion” of the country’s tele-health services and a suspension of applicable HIPAA penalties to allow doctors to expand their patient care using tele-health.

“Medicare patients can now visit any doctor by phone or video conference at no additional cost, including with commonly used services like FaceTime and Skype,” Trump said. “In addition, states have the authority to cover tele-health services for their medical patients.”