Mnuchin: Cash for companies not a bailout

'We're going to make sure the taxpayers are compensated fairly'

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the money the Trump administration will dole out to prop up corporations that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic does not amount to a bailout.

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The administration is working with Congress on a $1 trillion stimulus package that includes hundreds of billions of dollars for small and large businesses that have seen adverse conditions because of the pandemic.

“This isn’t a bailout,” Mnuchin told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning.

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COVID-19 has infected 9,415 people in the U.S. and killed 150, according to the latest numbers provided by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

The pandemic has caused the issuance of “shelter-in-place” orders, social distancing, the cancellation of non-essential travel and the closure of many restaurants and bars, paralyzing the economy.

“For small businesses, we're providing liquidity,” Mnuchin said. “If people have shut down their restaurants because they've been told to, that's not a bailout. We're doing things to encourage them to keep their workers.”

As for big companies, like the airlines, the administration is “looking at making secured loans on market terms,” Mnuchin said.

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“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.”