After the worst single-day drop in the stock market since the 2008 financial crisis, the White House revealed that it is exploring an extensive economic relief package to counteract COVID-19’s impact on the U.S. economy.
During a press conference at the White House on Monday, President Trump said he is preparing to meet with lawmakers to discuss drastic stimulus that could include small business loans, payroll tax cuts, and other “dramatic” measures to stimulate the economy.
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The president said he will meet with House Republicans and Senate Majority Mitch McConnell to discuss possible payroll tax cuts and other forms of relief. The agenda for the meeting with lawmakers includes discussions on various forms of “substantial” stimulus, including possible support for impacted hourly wage earners. “We’re also going to be talking about hourly wage workers getting help so that they can be in a position where they’re not going to ever miss a paycheck,“ Trump told reporters, “We are going to take care of – and have been taking care of – the American public and the American economy.”
Trump said the Small Business Administration will support the business sector with loans for small businesses. In addition, his administration will be working closely with industries that have been hardest-hit by the global corona outbreak, specifically the airline and cruise ship industries. “We’re going to be working with companies… so they don’t get penalized for something that’s not their fault,” Trump said, “It’s not their fault, it’s not our country’s fault. This was something that we were thrown into and we’re going to handle it.”
Vice President Mike Pence took the podium next. Pence is the official overseer of the White House’s coronavirus response efforts. He echoed the president’s sentiments and gave details regarding the administration’s latest containment efforts.
Pence said he and his team will be working closely with the healthcare sector to assist its efforts to combat the virus. He promised that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is working “around the clock” to develop vaccines and other treatments. The Vice President also revealed that he will meet with CEOs across the healthcare sector next week to coordinate the public and private sectors’ response to the outbreak.
Trump said there would be another press conference tomorrow afternoon to discuss the economic stimulus plans in more detail. “We have a lot of important meetings set up,” he stated, “And we’ll have a press conference sometime after that, and we’ll explain what we’re doing… from an economic standpoint.”
Trump is ready to pull out all the stops to keep the U.S. economic expansion intact. The various measures outlined in Monday’s press conference could significantly lessen the outbreak’s impact on businesses. In particular, support for hourly-wage workers could be tremendously beneficial because it could help limit the spread of the virus. Workers that live paycheck to paycheck feel pressured to go into work when they’re sick, but sick employees going to work could accelerate the spread of the virus through their workplaces and communities. A support package for infected hourly earners could help keep them in their homes and curtail the virus’s spread.