The Treasury Department on Wednesday said it wants to start issuing direct payments to Americans of $1,000, with the first checks issued starting April 6 and a second wave some time in mid-May.
The checks, which will go to many Americans, will cost the federal government $500 billion.
“The Treasury plan, which requires approval by Congress, also recommends $50 billion to stabilize the airlines, $150 billion to issue loan guarantees to other struggling sectors, and $300 billion to for small businesses. The plan appears to anticipate that some of the loans would not be repaid,” the Associated Press reported.
The details are for the third coronavirus response bill that lawmakers hope to pass next week. Direct payments would go to U.S. citizens only, and would be “tiered based on income level and family size.” The two payments would be identical, with the second wave starting by May 18.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the full stimulus package to shore up the economy is expected to top $1 trillion.
The Secretary also announced a plan regarding taxes. “If you owe a payment to the IRS, you can defer up to $1 million as an individual,” he said, adding that the payments would be “interest free and penalty free for 90 days.” But Americans must still file by April 15.
“All you have to do is file your taxes; you’ll automatically not get charged interest in penalties,” Mnuchin said during a coronavirus briefing Wednesday with President Trump looking on.
A new Marist poll conducted for NPR/PBS News earlier this week found that 18% of adults in the U.S. said that they had already lost their job or had their hours reduced due to the pandemic.
The White House and Congress have already passed coronavirus spending packages, and President Trump on Tuesday began pushing another $850 billion stimulus. The Senate on Wednesday is also set to take up a House-passed coronavirus bill. “Wednesday’s legislation would speed the delivery of testing for the virus and provide paid sick leave to workers, but the focus in Washington has already moved to development of a far, far larger response bill that would inject hundreds of billions of dollars into the faltering economy, provide relief to shuttered businesses, and help keep airlines from going under,” the AP reported.
Trump also said Tuesday that he supports direct payouts to Americans. “I think we’re going to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible. That may not be an accurate way of doing it. Some people obviously shouldn’t be getting a check for $1,000 but we’ll have an idea at the end of the day what we will be doing,” he said.
“We’re going big,” Trump said. “We want to go big, go solid.”