(USA Features) In a national address Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump laid out what he described as “unprecedented” measures aimed at helping to stem financial losses due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition to offering financial relief to individuals impacted by the virus, the president also proposed extending loans to areas and cities that are particularly impacted, as well as pushing Congress to provide Americans with “immediate payroll tax relief.”
“To ensure that working Americans impacted by the virus can stay home without fear of financial hardship, I will soon be taking emergency action, which is unprecedented, to provide financial relief,” the president said in the televised address.
“This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus. I will be asking Congress to take legislative action to extend this relief.”
Before detailing his plans, Trump assured Americans that the country is plenty strong enough to handle a temporary economic hit.
“Our banks and financial institutions are fully capitalized and incredibly strong. Our unemployment is at a historic low. This vast economic prosperity gives us flexibility, reserves, and resources to handle any threat that comes our way,” he said.
“This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.”
Nevertheless, the president said his administration will be taking strong actions to soften the economic blow.
“I am instructing the Small Business Administration [SBA] to exercise available authority to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected by the coronavirus,” the president announced. “Effective immediately, the SBA will begin providing economic loans in affected states and territories.
“These low-interest loans will help small businesses overcome temporary economic disruptions caused by the virus. To this end, I am asking Congress to increase funding for this program by an additional $50 billion,” he said.
He will also move to defer tax payments without interest or penalties to those impacted by coronavirus.
“Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted,” Trump said. “This action will provide more than $200 billion of additional liquidity to the economy.
“Finally, I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief,” Trump added. “Hopefully they will consider this very strongly.”