The Trump administration proposed sending Americans two rounds of checks, totaling US$500 billion, in an attempt to limit the economic damage caused by the coronavirus.
Government payments would arrive on April 6 and May 18, in equal value, based on the an outline of the White House’s coronavirus stimulus plan obtained by Bloomberg News. The amount of the payment would be linked to income and number of children in a family.
“Payment amounts would be fixed and tiered based on income level and family size,” the Treasury department wrote in the proposal. “Treasury is modeling specific options.”
President Donald Trump said the details of the payments are still under discussion.
“Every number that you mentioned, yes we’ve talked about those numbers, we’re also moving those numbers in both directions,” he said at a White House news conference on Wednesday, in response to a question about the amount of the payments. “It could be, and we’re also playing with a lot of numbers, a lot of very big numbers and a lot of very small numbers, frankly.”
Mnuchin first outlined the proposal Tuesday in a closed-door meeting with Republican senators. One of them, Josh Hawley of Missouri, has called for payments that would be adjusted based on family size and income. Another, Mitt Romney of Utah, had supported across-the-board US$1,000 checks.
Mnuchin has said the government won’t send checks to millionaires. During the meeting, Mnuchin supported means-testing the payments, an official familiar with the matter said. He also suggested Trump supported the approach, telling Hawley that there’s a person in the White House who agreed with him, without saying who, the official said.