Donald Trump’s administration is planning an $850billion bailout to help save businesses shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak.
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is expected to ask Congress for the aid package on Tuesday, after shops, bars, restaurants and gyms were ordered to close, leaving tens of millions without work.
He spoke with the lower house of the US Congress – the House of Representatives – on Monday – and told representatives that financial markets needed more liquidity – available cash – to stimulate them.
Mnuchin is now set to put his proposals before the upper house of Congress – the Senate – with Bloomberg reporting that the package could also include postponing quarterly tax payments made by small businesses.
He also wants to make fast cash loans available to business owners to help pay their bills, and has reached out to small business owners to try and gauge other potential measures that could help. The package comes on the heels of a bill tabled over the weekend that aims to provide sick pay and free food for anyone in need.
The planned stimulus is the biggest since the financial crash of 2008, and comes as the Dow Jones industrial index of America’s 30 largest companies lost 10% of its total value yesterday. It closed 3,000 points down at 20,188 points.
President Trump – who has tied the success of his administration to stock market gains – conceded yesterday that the US may now be headed for a recession.
But he told a press conference that he was more concerned with tackling the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected at least 4,700 Americans and killed 93.
Airlines have also warned they will need government assistance after a collapse in bookings caused by passenger fears and global travel bans.
And even wealthy Las Vegas casinos have warned that they could require a bailout as some began to shut and others struggled to attract gamblers fearful of catching coronavirus.
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