WASHINGTON — The White House announced Tuesday that it wants to give Americans checks in order to combat the economic devastation many will feel amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a news conference at the White House Tuesday.

“Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now,” Mnuchin said. “And I mean now in the next two weeks.”

President Donald Trump, who had initially floated a payroll tax holiday, said that he favored more immediate action that could inject cash into American’s pockets faster than waiting for the next payday.

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“I think we are going to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible,” Trump said. “We will have a pretty good idea at the end of the day what we will be doing.”

It is unclear who would get money and how much, but Mnuchin indicated that it would be aimed towards those most hurt by the outbreak.

“We don’t need to send people who make million dollars a year checks,” Mnuchin said.

Mnuchin said he would be “previewing” the details at a meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon.

“There are some numbers out there. They may be a little bit bigger than what’s in the press,” he added.

Mnuchin’s proposal could be met with a warm reception on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers from both parties have called for giving Americans immediate direct cash payments.

On Monday Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, proposed giving every adult $1,000 to help meet financial obligations. A group of Senate Democrats, led by Michael Bennet of Colorado, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, proposed sending as much as $4,500 to each American.

Mnuchin is expected to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill later Tuesday to urge them to act immediately.


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