Mnuchin Anticipates $2T Will Provide 'Economic Relief Overall for About 10 Weeks'

Susan Jones | March 30, 2020 | 8:05am EDT
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the $2.2 trillion relief package just passed by Congress "provides economic relief overall for about 10 weeks."

"Well, there's really three components of this law now that protects the American public," Mnuchin told CBS's "Face the Nation."

So the first component is small business loans, which about half of the companies in the U.S., people will be able to get small business loans and pay their workers for eight weeks. So we encourage people to do that and get them back to work.

Two, there will be enhanced unemployment insurance. And, three, as you said, there will be these -- these checks in the mail or direct deposit. It's really bridge liquidity for people as they go through these difficult times.

"Bridge liquidity for about eight weeks?" host Margaret Brennan asked Mnuchin:

"Well, I -- I think the entire package provides economic relief overall for about 10 weeks. Hopefully, we'll kill this virus quicker and -- and we won't need it, but we -- we have liquidity to put into the American economy to support American workers and American business."

Later on Sunday, President Trump said his administration will extend its social distancing guidelines to April 30, beyond the hoped-for April 12 (Easter) date mentioned earlier.

"The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks. I will say it again," Trump told a Sunday evening news conference. "The peak, the highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks. Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all. Therefore, the next two weeks, and during this period, it's very important everyone strongly follow the guidelines."

On CBS, Mnuchin said he expects people who qualify to get their cash infusions, up to $1,200, within three weeks, if they have direct deposit information on file with the government.

"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," Mnuchin said.

"We have everybody within Treasury and the administration working around the clock to get this money out quickly, since this doesn't do people any good if it takes a long time.

"We also have the task force and the medical professionals making recommendations to the president about when they think the economy will be reopened, and if, for whatever reason, this takes longer than we think, we will go back to Congress and get more support for the American economy. But I hope that's not needed."

At his Sunday news conference, President Trump was asked if another relief package may be necessary and if he would support that?

"I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to save lives and bring our economy back," Trump said:

"Our economy has a chance to be just as good and even better. A lot of the money you read about is coming back. These are loans to great companies that got stopped from doing business. They are going to be back. Much of the money is coming back.  We will take pieces of the company for the taxpayers of our nation I expect will make a lot of money. I didn't want to talk about making money. I want to talk about two things -- saving lives and bringing our economy back. I think we are going to do very well."

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the Trump administration is "not bailing out any companies or any industries. Any loans that we make, the -- the taxpayers will be fully compensated for."

Mnuchin said some of these are "very good companies that just need liquidity and will get loans. Some of these companies may need more significant help, and we may be taking warrants or equity, as well as that. The president wants to make sure that the American taxpayers are compensated. This is not a bailout."


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