Trump presses plan to send checks directly to Americans

With fears of a massive economic hit to major American business sectors because of the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus, the White House is pushing a plan to send checks directly to Americans as a way to keep money flowing into the economy, and help people who might be out of work.

"We don't want people losing their jobs or not having money to live, when they were doing very well just four weeks ago," President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House.

"We're looking at sending checks to Americans immediately," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has led negotiations with GOP Senators on an economic stimulus package.

The White House on Tuesday floated an $850 billion figure for a package which would also include aid for the airline and hotel industries, both battered by the collateral economic damage from the virus.

"This is worse that Nine Eleven," Mnuchin said of the impact on U.S. airlines.

"With this invisible enemy, we don't want airlines going out of business," the President added.

Mnuchin did not give reporters a figure on how much the checks would be worth - but $1,000 has been talked about.

The legislative push on direct payments to Americans came as the Senate was still waiting to vote on a $106 billion House-passed plan to allow for free Coronavirus testing, and provide sick leave for many workers.

As for the immediate response to the Coronavirus, the President said the Army Corps of Engineers could be pressed into service to help bolster medical facilities with temporary field tent hospitals.

Asked about domestic travel restrictions, the President again held out the possibility, if new guidelines issued on Monday don't get the spread of the virus under control in the United States.

On the issue of spring break vacations, Mr. Trump said it might be better if Americans would just stay home.

"I would say enjoy your home. I would recommend that they just enjoy their living room."