- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2020

President Trump said his proposed $1 trillion economic rescue package for the coronavirus will “help everybody” in the country.

“We have to help everybody,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “It was nobody’s fault — certainly none of these companies that all of a sudden had no passengers, planes that had no passengers and cruise ships. They can’t be blamed for this. We want to keep those companies vibrant.”

He said the administration is still looking at direct payments to most Americans. Under the proposal, checks of $1,000 or more could be sent out to people around April 6 and again around May 18.

The cost to the government would be about $500 billion for the direct payments.

“We’re talked about those numbers, and we’re also moving those numbers in both directions,” the president said, cautioning that no decisions have been made.

The Treasury Department said the cash payouts would be means-tested, meaning the amounts would be based on income level and family size. Treasury’s written rescue plan calls for an airline industry bailout of $50 billion in secured loans to passenger and cargo carriers. Limits would be placed on executive pay increases until the loans were repaid.

Another $150 billion would go to other affected industries in secured loans or loan guarantees. This group would likely include hotels and cruise lines.

The plan also includes $300 billion for small-business interruption loans for companies with fewer than 500 employees. Recipients would have to keep paying all their employees for eight weeks from the date of the loan.

The government would guarantee 100% of payroll for six weeks, capped at $1,540 per week per employee.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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