- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2020

The average family of four will receive $3,000 from the government next month under the economic relief plan proposed by the White House to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Thursday the direct payments in April would include $1,000 per adult and $500 per child. He said the checks would go out three weeks after Congress approves the plan.

A second round of payments would go out in May if the president hasn’t lifted his national disaster declaration.

“We’ve told the House and the Senate we need to get this done quickly,” Mr. Mnuchin told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. “This needs to be done by the beginning of next week.”

Senate Republicans are working with the White House on the package, which is expected to total about $1.3 trillion. It includes guaranteed loans for small businesses and affected industries such as airlines.

Mr. Mnuchin said he also has been conferring this week with Democratic leaders.

The House isn’t in session this week, and plans to convene next week.

President Trump on Wednesday night signed emergency legislation that provides more than $100 billion for free coronavirus testing, expanded unemployment insurance, paid sick and family leave and expanded food security programs.

Mr. Mnuchin didn’t reject a suggestion by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow that the government is considering asking corporations for equity stakes in return for aid from taxpayers.

“We’re looking at making secured loans on market terms,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “We’ll see whether that includes equity or doesn’t include equity. We’re not going to force things on people, but people who need liquidity, we’re going to make sure that the taxpayers are compensated fairly.”

The Treasury secretary, citing action by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to suspend foreclosures and evictions, urged private banks to follow suit.

“My expectation is … the banks will follow,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “We do not want to be foreclosing on people during this 90-day period.”

HUD said Wednesday it will suspend foreclosures and evictions for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration until the end of April, a move that will affect about 8.1 million mortgages.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency also ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the companies behind about half of all mortgages in the nation, to suspend foreclosures and evictions for any single-family mortgages for at least 60 days.

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