Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Stimulus Includes $1,000 Checks for Americans — Here’s What That Really Means

In the next couple of weeks, Americans could get a check for $1,000 as part of President Donald Trump’s proposed $1 trillion stimulus package to combat the coronavirus that continues to ravage the United States.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pitched Senate Republicans on an initial $250 billion in checks to be distributed as direct payments at the end of April. A second set of checks could raise the total to $500 billion four weeks later if the COVID-19 outbreak remains a national emergency, according to multiple reports.

“Americans need cash now, and the president wants to give cash now,” Mnuchin said Tuesday at a White House briefing, where Trump was also present. Speaking with reporters later in the day on Capitol Hill, the Treasury Secretary added, “It is a big number. This is a very big situation in this economy.”

Details of the $1 trillion proposal are still in the process of being finalized, and officials said the final number could change before the Senate takes a vote on it this week or next.

It’s not the first time the U.S. has sent out checks to its people amid an economic crisis: In 2001, most Americans received a $300 check. And during the Great Recession, the government sent each adult who filed a tax return a check in the range of $300 to $600, plus another $300 for every child. Americans who earned income less than $75,000 took home the full amount, while those with higher incomes got less. Payments were sent via checks in the mail or direct deposit to bank accounts.

Early Tuesday, reports emerged about a $850 billion emergency plan that would include about $50 billion for the airline industry, which has suffered a dramatic decline in passengers as state and local governments have advised travelers to pause or cancel their travel plans to prevent the continued spread of the deadly illness. In the U.S., more than 6,490 cases have been confirmed, with the death toll now reaching 114.

The package marks the third proposed coronavirus-related emergency fund as lawmakers attempt to halt the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak. Congress has already passed an $8.3 billion sweeping spending bill toward prevention efforts and medical research, and a separate plan to expand unemployment and sick leave benefits is under review by the Senate.

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