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US Government to Start Cash Handouts Within Two Weeks, Treasury Secretary Says

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US administration launches on Friday a paycheck protection program, allowing small businesses to keep their personnel amid coronavirus shutdowns, and expects within two weeks to start cash handouts to taxpayers, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin told reporters.
"We need to get money to small business and American workers, and that’s what we are doing", Mnuchin said at a White House briefing Thursday. "This will be up and running tomorrow. I encourage all small businesses that have five hundred or fewer people, please, contact your lenders... You get the money, you’ll get it the same day, you use it to pay your workers".

The paycheck protection program is tailored to keep small businesses, including self-employed and charities, afloat for over eight weeks through forgivable loans.

Mnuchin added that the White House has accelerated the launch of arguably the most anticipated portion of a $2 trillion economic relief package - direct one-time payments to American taxpayers, who can count on $3400 per family of four.

"I’m pleased to report... within two weeks the first payments will be direct deposit into taxpayers’ accounts", Secretary said.

Mnuchin said that there are now unprecedented $6 trillion to support the US economy amid the outbreak. The relief program is designed for around ten weeks, and the administration may go back to Congress for additional liquidity if needed, he added.

The bill provides $2.2 trillion in economic stimulus, including cash payments of up to $1,200 for millions of families, who make less than $75,000 per year, as well as huge payments to state and territorial governments to buttress their responses to the pandemic, financial relief for flagging industries such as airlines and cruise lines, and funds for the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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