• Thomas Parker

Politicians push for $850 billion spending package to send Americans cash

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

The White House urged Congress to pass a roughly $850 billion spending bill that could include hundreds of billions of dollars in cash payments sent directly to Americans in what could amount to $1,000 or more per person per month, for several months.

The measure would include more than $500 billion worth of rebate checks to be sent to American households, $200 billion for loans to small businesses, and $50 billion in relief for the airline industry.

The White House had previously pushed a payroll tax cut, but Congress declined to support the idea. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met on Tuesday with Republican legislators in Washington and said that the administration was discussing sending checks to Americans to lessen the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

A stimulus bill from Congress may come after the Federal Reserve utilized every tool at its disposal in an attempt to keep the economy from entering a recession, slashing interest rates to zero and restarting its bond-buying program.

Mnuchin did not disclose an exact dollar amount to be paid to Americans as part of the stimulus bill, but told reporters that "it is a big number." Mnuchin said the payments would not go to high-income earners.

President Trump recently declared the coronavirus a national emergency and promised Americans they would receive economic relief from the federal government. The president waived interest on student loan payments and is using the SBA and Federal Reserve to offer businesses low-interest or no-interest loans.

Direct payments to Americans have support in Congress from both the Democrats and Republicans. A group of Senate Democrats previously proposed sending $4,500 to most American adults and children, and Senate Republicans such as Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton have also supported sending Americans cash.

The $850 billion spending bill passed a House vote on Monday. If it passes the Senate, would be larger than the spending package passed in 2009, which was priced at the time at $787 billion. The 2009 bill was passed without a single Republican vote, whereas the current resolution passed 363 in favor to 40 opposed.

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