AMERICANS hit hard financially during the coronavirus pandemic will receive their promised $1,200 checks “within three weeks”, says Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
He told CBS that president Donald Trump was “determined to protect workers, since it was not their fault that we shut down the economy while we kill this virus”.
Trump reportedly wants his signature on the $1,200 checks due to go out to Americans in the coming days – after he signed the historic coronavirus stimulus bill into law on Friday.
The bill will inject more than $2.2trillion into the halting economy to prop up businesses amid the turmoil caused by the growing outbreak.
Today, talking to Margaret Brennan on CBS’s Meet the Press, Mnuchin was asked, “when will Americans will receive those twelve hundred dollar checks?”
He replied: “We expect that within three weeks that people who have direct deposit, with information with us, will see those direct deposit in their bank accounts.
“And we will create a web-based system for people where we don’t have their direct deposit – they can upload it – so that they can get the money immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.”
Brennan added: “But $1,200 takes you a lot farther in Nebraska than it does in California. How do you want people to be spending this money?”
Mnuchin told her: “Well, there’s really three components of this law now that protects the American public.
“And the president was determined that we protect the American workers, since it was not their fault that we shut down the economy while we kill this virus.
“So the first component is small business loans… people will be able to get small business loans and pay their workers for eight weeks.
“Two, they’ll be enhanced unemployment insurance.
“And three, as you said, there’ll be these- these checks in the mail or direct deposit. It’s really bridge liquidity for people as they go through these difficult times.
“I think the entire package provides economic relief overall for about ten weeks.
“Hopefully we’ll kill this virus quicker. In the end, we won’t need it, but we have liquidity to put into the American economy to support American workers and American business.”
$2.2TRILLION RESCUE BILL
The $2.2 trillion economic rescue package will support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families and individuals during the deepening coronavirus epidemic.
“I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first,” Trump said in the Oval Office, surrounded by Republican lawmakers last Friday.
The package – which will see checks sent to individuals and families dependent on their income – passed despite some late drama from a lone Republican lawmaker trying to delay the vote.
Kentucky representative Thomas Massie argued that the biggest spending bill in the country’s history required a recorded vote – rather than a quicker voiced vote.
The House passed the landmark package before it landed on the President’s desk for his signature on Friday afternoon.
“I just signed the CARES Act, the single biggest economic relief package in American History – twice as large as any relief bill ever enacted,” Trump tweeted shortly after 4.30pm.
“At $2.2 Trillion Dollars, this bill will deliver urgently-needed relief for our nation’s families, workers, and businesses.”
Within the hour, Trump had also invoked the Defense Production Act, which enabled the administration to order General Motors to produce tens of thousands of ventilators needed to fight the deadly respiratory illness.
Despite Thomas Massie’s objections, the emergency legislation passed with 748 voice votes just before 1.30 pm.
The lawmaker maintained there weren’t enough members there to pass it – but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disagreed as the bill was signed ahead of the House leaving until March 31.
An hour before the bill passed, Massie claimed on Twitter it was all a fix.
“Are they afraid of the truth?” he wrote.
“I’ve been told that they don’t even have 1 minute available for me to speak against this bill during the 4 hour debate.
“The fix is in. If this bill is so great for America, why not allow a vote on it? Why not have a real debate?” he added, followed by the hashtag “SWAMP.”
The Kentucky congressman had reportedly tried to initiate a conversation with Trump on Friday but it wasn’t confirmed whether they had spoken before the president’s tirade.
The fix is in. If this bill is so great for America, why not allow a vote on it?
Massie told 55 KRC radio he planned to reject the $2 trillion aid package on Thursday, which the Senate passed 96-0 the day before.
His comments came as the House of Congress debated the trillion-dollar bill today which Massie threatened when he tried to force a roll call vote.
The Star Tribune reported that several high-ranking Republicans called Massie, urging him to let the voice vote proceed so they wouldn’t have to trek to Washington DC and risk contracting the disease.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry went on to label Massie an “a**hole”, saying, “Finally, something the president and I can agree on!”
Likewise, New York Rep. Pete King wrote: “Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House.
“Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible.”
But Massie insisted his insistence on a formal, in-person vote was based on the strain the package would put on the national budget.
“If it were just about helping people to get more unemployment (benefits) to get through this calamity that, frankly, the governors have wrought on the people, then I could be for it,” he said on Thursday.
“Divide $2 trillion by 350 million people — it’s almost $6,000 for every man, woman and child. I’m talking about spending.
“This won’t go to the men, women and children. So if you have a family of five, this spending bill represents $30,000 of additional US national debt because there is no plan to pay for it.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also took issue with the direct payments from the Feds, hammering Republicans for not giving checks to illegal immigrants.
“To clarify, $1200 checks are ONLY going to some w/social sec numbers, NOT immigrants w/ tax IDs (ITINs),” she tweeted on Thursday afternoon.
“Thanks to GOP, these checks will be cut off the backs of *taxpaying immigrants,* who get nothing. “Many are essential workers who pay more taxes than Amazon. Wall St gets $4T.”
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Things had earlier took another dramatic turn on Capitol Hill, when Rep. Haley Stevens of Michigan shouted through the gavel while wearing latex gloves during the debate.
“This is not the time to provide the false comforts of times past,” the congresswoman told the House, before requesting 30 more seconds on the floor.
“[I’m wearing] these latex gloves not for personal attention, but to encourage you to take this disease seriously.
“I rise for every American who is scared right now.”