Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday explained that his agency is ready and prepared to send out millions of checks to Americans once Congress passes the second Wuhan coronavirus relief package.
“The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. And again, let me emphasize: people are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,” Mnuchin told CNBC host Jim Cramer earlier in the day. “So it’s very fast, it’s money that gets recirculated in the economy. People go out and spend this money, and that helps small business and that helps getting more people back to work.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, unemployment skyrocketed. Since then it has gone down, something Mnuchin said "is a good thing."
"I think, as you know, we were worried about, you know, something like a Great Depression again earlier in the year," he explained.
According to the Treasury Secretary, this round of COVID relief is "very targeted" and should be enough to boost the economy through the end of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
The new bill coming before Congress includes another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which ensures small businesses can stay afloat. This time, however, the loans are targeted to those who have actually seen a measured lost o business.
"Let me just say that in the PPP, if businesses are down 25 percent, they'll be able to get a second check," he said. "We also added an employer retention tax credit up to 10,000 per quarter per person. This is a very, very big incentive for small business as well.
The hotel and restaurant industries will be the primary focus of PPP loans this go around.
Congress is expected to vote on the bill late Monday evening. An agreement was reached on Sunday after the Senate was deadlocked on Sen. Pat Toomey's (R-PA) demand to eliminate three loan programs the Federal Reserve launched in March to keep the economy afloat during the initial lockdown.
Under the CARES Act, a new corporate bond credit facility was established. This facility provided municipal and mainstream lending programs. They were set to expire on Dec. 31 but Democrats wanted to keep them in tact. The issue, according to Toomey, was none of the corporate programs were utilized and the others were underutilized when the private credit market continued its normal function.
"We’ve never asked the Fed to engage in fiscal policy or social policy, or to allocate credit based on political standing," Toomey said on Saturday.
Once the deal was tentatively struck, Toomey spokesman Steve Kelly explained the compromise early Sunday morning.
"This tentative agreement is an unqualified victory for taxpayers. Senate Republicans achieved all four of our objectives regarding the CARES Act 13(3) Federal Reserve lending programs," Kelley said in a statement provided to Fox News. "This agreement rescinds more than $429 billion in unused CARES Act funds; definitively ends the CARES Act lending facilities by December 31, 2020; stops these facilities from being restarted; and forbids them from being duplicated without congressional approval."
"This agreement will preserve Fed independence and prevent Democrats from hijacking these programs for political and social policy purposes," Kelly concluded.
The bill, as it currently stands, would include $300 a week in unemployment benefits, another round of direct pay stimulus checks, as well as funding for schools, health care workers, vaccine distribution and small businesses.