WASHINGTON — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a decision whether to reopen the nation back for business as early as Easter will be a health decision, not an economic one.
Mnuchin acknowledged surging unemployment numbers and declining GDP as 1 in 3 Americans remain under government orders to stay at home to slow the coronavirus that has killed more than 2,000 Americans.
But he said President Donald Trump’s top objective is the health of the American public.
Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation” that his own top focus is getting stimulus money from the just-passed $2.2 trillion aid package from Congress immediately into the hands of workers and businesses.
He said American workers will get direct deposits of money in three weeks, while a federal program aimed at helping half the workforce by encouraging small businesses to take out loans to hire back their workers for eight weeks will be up and running by Friday.
He said the stimulus package should help keep the economy and workers afloat for 10 weeks, and if more time is needed to stem the coronavirus, the administration will assess what else is needed at that time.