White House to Propose Stimulus and Cash Aid For Americans
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House was asking Congress on Tuesday to approve a sweeping emergency stimulus package to help businesses and taxpayers cope with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s the most far-reaching economic rescue package since the Great Recession of 2008.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to outline the 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.
“There’s great spirit” among lawmakers, President Donald Trump said at the White House briefing Tuesday as he outlined several elements of the rescue plan. “I can say that for Republicans and Democrats.”
But it’s an enormous political and economic undertaking as a slow-moving Congress tries to rise to the occasion of these fast times.
The debate is sure to revive the sharp divisions over the costly bank bailout and economic recovery of the Obama and Bush era. Particularly striking is McConnell’s urgency after having adjourned the Senate over the weekend while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi muscled through an aid package.
Angry senators from both parties boarded planes returning to a changed Washington, as Trump declared a state of emergency, the virus spread and the economic free-fall worsened.
The White House hopes the measure will pass quickly, possibly this week, an enormous political undertaking as the administration scrambled to contain the economic fallout of the severe disruptions to American life from the outbreak.
White House officials offered senators a preliminary briefing late Monday at the Capitol, saying they want the plan approved by Congress as soon as possible, suggesting in a matter of days.
“ASAP,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said late Monday. “There’s an urgency.”
The rush to inject cash and resources into the economy is an effort unlike any since the 2008 economic crisis, with political and economic interventions and eye-popping sums to try to protect Americans from the health and financial fallout.