COVID-19 Prompts US Plans for Trillion-Dollar Relief Effort
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, In Homeland Security
The global death toll from the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has reached 218,000, according to CNN. In the U.S., the number of deaths now stands at 150, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday.
Sadly, those numbers are expected to continue to rise in the weeks and months ahead.
The pandemic is producing unprecedented and chilling fatalities numbers, but it’s also taking a massive toll on financial planning and the economy.
The Trump administration is asking Congress for roughly $1 trillion in new economic relief as lawmakers begin work on phase three of the coronavirus relief efforts, National Public Radio reported.
“The Trump administration on Wednesday broadened the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and spelled out the first details of a $1 trillion economic package, asking Congress for an infusion of $500 billion for direct payments to taxpayers and $500 billion in loans for businesses,” The New York Times explained.
“Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that he worked with the president on the economic package. Their discussions included payments to small businesses, loan guarantees for industries like airlines and hotels, and a stimulus package for workers,” NPR said.
Phase Three Proposal Includes $50 Billion to Aid Hard-Hit Airline Industry
POLITICO said the phase three proposal would include $50 billion to aid the hard-hit airline industry, $150 billion for other distressed sectors of the economy, two rounds of direct payments of $250 billion each on April 6 and May 18, and the creation of a small business interruption loan program.
The Small Business Administration ’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are offering up to $2 million in loans and vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
It’s not just the federal government that is talking about billions and trillions.
American Airlines Is in Discussions with Banks for Billions of Dollars in New Debt
Bloomberg News reports that American Airlines is in discussions with banks to take on billions of dollars in new debt. “The Fort Worth, Texas-based company is on a multibillion-dollar 364-day secured term-loan facility,” said unidentified officials because the negotiations are private. American’s stock has tumbled 44% this year on concerns about damage to its business.
“Rivals including Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc., and Southwest Airlines Co. have shored up their balance sheets or are looking to do so as rattled customers cancel travel plans and governments impose restrictions to prevent the virus from spreading,” Bloomberg said.
In addition to new reports of COVID-19 cases and deaths, we’re likely to see many more such astronomical amounts of money making headlines in the U.S. and elsewhere.
About the only good number these days was the zero coming from Wuhan, China. The New York Times cited local officials there as reporting “no new local infections for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began [there] three months ago.”
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