Trump Administration Efforts to Combat COVID-19

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are not the only ones with ideas to combat the public health crisis and economic crisis created by COVID-19.

While negotiations continue on Capitol Hill on the COVID-2/H.R. 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Trump Administration is pursuing executive and regulatory actions to address the pandemic.

The Trump Administration is hosting White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefings to inform the American people about the effects of the virus.

White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

In the Coronavirus Task Force briefing today, Secretary Mnuchin said the Administration is considering offsetting the economic hardships of the virus by immediately sending checks to Americans.  

Secretary Mnuchin did not say how much, or who, would stand to receive these checks, but he did say he wanted this cash in American’s hands “now, in the next two weeks.”  

Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has floated a similar proposal sending every American $1000 dollars. 

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department are launching lending programs through emergency powers. The Commercial Paper Funding Facility will provide $10 billion in capital from its Exchange Stabilization Fund. This money will be transferred from the Treasury Department to the Fed’s fund to administer the program. It will provide short term credit intended to help American businesses manage their finances, and boost liquidity, during this challenging period. 

In an effort to ensure business liquidity, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is postponing the due date for quarterly tax payments. Families and certain businesses will be allowed to defer payments for up to 90 days with no repercussions. This will apply to individuals who owe up to $1 million, small businesses, sole proprietors, and corporations owing up to $10 million.  

Secretary Mnuchin anticipates this move will defer up to $300 billion in payments, offering an enormous amount of liquidity to the system.  

President Trump is advocating for a payroll tax cut. Secretary Mnuchin has reportedly discussed a payroll tax holiday internally, for employers and employees, until the end of the year geared towards businesses with 100 employees or less. Mnuchin noted a payroll tax cut could take too long to get in American’s hands, so he might be less supportive of such a cut than before. Several Democrats have said a payroll tax cut is still a nonstarter, citing even limited support for the idea amongst Republicans.

During the Task Force Briefing, President Trump also announced the full mobilization of the federal government to fight the virus.  Pursuant to President Trump’s announcement, the White House circulated the CDC Guidelines from the previous day’s briefing as well as additional information about the Administration’s initiatives:

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread

National Emergency Declaration: Presidential Proclamation

Mobilizing Full Resources of the Federal Government: Presidential Actions

Information the Administration’s initiatives:  https://www.coronavirus.gov/

All White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefings:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/news

I anticipate the White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefings will be conducted weekly if not daily going forward.

Check out my blog for additional updates.

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