The Trump administration is seeking a $1 trillion stimulus package to prop up the US economy, as the coronavirus pandemic increasingly shutters businesses across the nation and keeps consumers at home.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the stimulus plan under consideration could include measures ranging from loans to emergency support payments to households.
"This is a very unique situation in this economy," Mnuchin said.
The stimulus package was initially estimated at $850 billion, but the Trump administration started to discuss an additional $250 billion in direct support payments as the situation escalated. The checks could administer upward of $1,000 for each American.
A senior administration official told Business Insider the proposal has developed rapidly over recent days, which were marked by historic drops in financial markets and growing fears about a potential downturn. "That is moving on a very fast track," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said of the request.
The proposal underscored a new sense of urgency in the White House, which had for weeks sought to downplay the human and economic threats of the respiratory illness COVID-19. Asked on Monday whether the US was heading toward a recession, President Donald Trump told a reporter: "Well, it may be."
The proposal could include the payroll tax cut that Trump has repeatedly called for since the outbreak began to show signs of economic fallout. But it's unclear what path such a policy would face on Capitol Hill, where bipartisan members of Congress have expressed skepticism about its effectiveness and costs.
The Trump administration could also ask for roughly $50 billion to aid the airline industry as it reels from international travel restrictions and apprehensive consumers. Other industries and small- to medium-sized businesses may also receive targeted assistance.
On Monday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that $400 billion in fiscal assistance was already underway.
"We have an enormous fiscal plan," he said.
The Senate is expected to pass this week a package that expands paid sick leave and other benefits for workers, though it has hit some snags as Democrats continue to negotiate with the White House. In February, Trump signed into law legislation that injected about $8 billion into efforts to fight COVID-19.