The Trump administration is set to roll out checks to American “in the next two weeks,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The package is an effort to help Americans cope with the effects the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the economy according to Fox News.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Mnuchin said during a press conference at the White House. “Americans need cash now, the president wants to get cash now. I mean now—in the next few weeks.”
“The president has instructed me we have to do this now,” Mnuchin added. Details such as what the amount might be has yet to be announced, however Mnuchin said the amount would be significant and that millionaires would not be eligible to receive it.
Mnuchin is putting pressure on GOP senators for a deal that would give out at least $200 billion in payments to Americans by early April.
As for a push to extend the deadline to file taxes past the scheduled April 15, Mnuchin said no, citing that taxes could be filed online.
“We encourage Americans who can file taxes to continue to file taxes on April 15 because for many Americans, you will get tax refunds and we don’t want you to lose out on those tax refunds,” Mnuchin said.
Should individuals or corporations be forced to owe money to the Internal Revenue Service after filing their taxes, those payments will now be deferred for as much as 90 days interest-free.
“If you owe a payment to the IRS, you can defer up to $1 million as an individual, and $10 million to corporations, interest-free and penalty-free for 90 days,” Mnuchin continued. “File your taxes, you’ll automatically not get charged interests or penalties.”
The new deal to provide money to Americans during this time of crisis is bigger than the 2008 bank bailout, and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. An act that was passed under former President Barack Obama, and amounted to $787 billion to help keep the economy stable.
At the same time Vice President Pence, who is in charge of the coronavirus task force said that they have plans to increase testing for COVID-19. It will now be available in all 50 states, announced Pence, saying, “state health authorities can now authorize labs in their state and expand existing testing capabilities.”
Pence claimed that the Trump administration will expand its “public-private partnership” with “vast commercial labs around the country,” which is “increasing access to coronavirus testing.”
“It is important that the American people understand that testing is happening all around the country,” Pence said, adding that experts “want me to tell the American people that you don’t need the testing to know what you should do.”
“Experts say that if every American acts on the coronavirus guidelines, we can see a substantial reduction in the spread, but as the president said, it will take all of us to do it,” Pence said, noting those guidelines rolled out by the White House and CDC Monday which included social distancing, limiting social gatherings to groups of less than 10 individuals, and staying at home.
“For the American people, as a whole, the risk of serious illness remains low,” Pence said.
The coronavirus taskforce predicts that the number of cases in the U.S. will likely peak in approximately 45-days.