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Individuals can have stimulus checks as early as subsequent week, Mnuchin says

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listens during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington, the United States, on Dec. 1, 2020.

Al Drago | Reuters

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that Americans who qualify for direct payments in the new Covid-19 legislation could see money hit their bank accounts within days.

"The good news is this is a very, very quick way to get money into the economy. Let me stress this: people will see that money early next week," Mnuchin told CNBC host Jim Cramer. "So it's very quick, it's money that is being returned to the company."

"People go out and spend this money. It helps small businesses and helps get more people back to work," he added.

Mnuchin's comments came hours before Congress is expected to pass a new $ 900 billion Covid-19 relief bill. The latest bill contains provisions that are in line with the original CARES Act, the US $ 2.2 trillion bailout package approved in March.

Individuals including children will receive a direct payment of $ 600. A family of four could end up with $ 2,400. Payments will decrease for people who made more than $ 75,000 in 2019. They would be phased out completely for people who have earned over $ 99,000 that year.

Democrats said the bill would put $ 284 billion in small loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The new bill would also provide an additional $ 20 billion for small business grants and $ 15 billion for live venues.

If passed, the legislation would include an unemployment benefit of $ 300 and temporarily maintain pandemic-era programs that expand unemployment insurance eligibility.

At the beginning of the year, the finance minister had negotiated with top democrats to reach a new economic agreement. After the 2020 election, Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, took over the deliberations.

For his part, Mnuchin advocated more focused spending accounting, focused on helping the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, such as airlines and restaurants.

"Unemployment has fallen significantly," said Mnuchin on Monday. "This is much more focused now. I expect it will be needed in a short time and I think this will get us through the recovery."

That view is likely to run counter to that of the Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer, who have said the $ 900 billion bill is necessary but not sufficient.

Democrats say Congress may need to provide further stimulus in the coming months as the US kicks off a winter of record-breaking Covid-19 infections. President-elect Joe Biden has referred to the current bill as a down payment for further action.

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