U.S. eyes tax relief, airline support, cash to workers to counteract coronavirus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration plans to offset economic impacts of the fast-spreading coronavirus with aid to workers and businesses that will pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers on Wednesday.

The White House is examining tax relief measures, loan guarantees, reimbursing workers for lost pay, aid to small and midsized businesses, and support for airlines, hotels and other travel businesses, Mnuchin said.

The impact of the coronavirus was initially underestimated internationally, Mnuchin told a House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee. The situation is like a “hurricane,” he said, and it is important that Congress act quickly.

The White House hopes to reach an agreement on a stimulus plan with Congress within 48 hours, he added.

He said President Donald Trump felt strongly that U.S. companies needed to be protected, not bailed out.

He said the Trump administration was coordinating internationally, and emphasized that the situation would not go on “for years.”

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