Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC Monday that Americans who qualify for direct payments under the coronavirus relief package will see those payments in a matter of days.
“The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,” Mnuchin told CNBC host Jim Cramer.
The comments came hours before the Congress voted to approve a $900 billion relief package. Unlike the CARES Act, the check will only be $600 in direct payments to individuals and a $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit. The bill also sets aside funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, live event venues, restaurants, and transportation.
It shouldn’t take long before Americans begin seeing financial relief. Two weeks after the passing of the CARES Act, more than 81 million payments worth more than $147 billion were received by Americans, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Earlier in the year, Mnuchin was negotiating with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi but after months of the two getting nowhere and President Trump losing the election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took over the negotiations. While he was in the negotiations, Mnuchin suggested a smaller, targeted relief package focused on supporting industries such as airlines and restaurants along with citizens.
That view conflicted with Pelosi’s plan for a large $2.2 trillion bill Democrats favored for weeks, but Republicans called it too expensive and claimed it would add to the federal debt, despite the fact that Trump’s tax cuts added more to the debt than a larger package would.
If Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win their Georgia Senate runoffs, Americans can expect a third, larger package from President-elect Joe Biden, who called the $900 billion package a down payment on a larger package.
The second relief package also extends a moratorium on foreclosures and provides $25 billion in rental aid.
The agreement ends a stalemate between both parties that has lasted for months. Since the $600 federal unemployment benefit expired July 31, food pantry lines have gotten longer, community fridges have to be refilled more, and Christmas lists have gotten shorter.