Trump may send Americans coronavirus cash relief: How big could checks be?

The checks could be part of a $1 trillion stimulus measure

With the coronavirus crisis expected to hit both the economy and consumers’ wallets as large swaths of businesses shut down in an attempt to quell the illness’ spread, the White House is considering sending Americans cash relief.

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On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated that the White House and Republicans are working on a $1 trillion package that includes direct checks to individuals because the president “wants to put money into the economy now.”

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“This is not like a normal economic situation, the government has requested that parts of this economy shut down … the president is determined, we will put money back into this economy to protect hard-working Americans and small businesses,” Mnuchin told reporters.

A source familiar with the matter told FOX Business on Tuesday that Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney spoke with Mnuchin on Monday night. Romney has called for a payment of $1,000 to Americans.

While Mnuchin declined to give specifics on what the size of checks could ultimately be, he did say they could be larger than numbers floated in the press. The same source confirmed to FOX Business that Mnuchin was referring to Romney’s $1,000 check proposal, meaning checks could be larger than that proposed figure.

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The Treasury Secretary indicated the checks could go out as soon as the next couple of weeks.

The policy could trigger spending. According to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research, individuals who received a one-time tax rebate in 2008 of about $950 were more likely to spend it when compared with people who received a tax credit in 2009. A previous 2001 rebate showed similar effects on spending.

While it appears other relief measures are likely to be announced in the coming days, the administration announced some tax relief measures for the current season on Tuesday. Individuals and businesses owing up to $1 million can defer payment by 90 days, so can businesses, sole proprietorships and corporations that owe up to $10 million.

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FOX Business’ Blake Burman contributed to this report.