On The Money: Democrats eye infrastructure in next coronavirus package | Mnuchin touts online system to speed up relief checks | Stocks jump despite more stay-at-home orders

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THE BIG DEAL–Democrats eye major infrastructure component in next coronavirus package: With the ink barely dry on a massive, $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, House Democrats are already laying out their targets for the next round of emergency aid, including major investments in the nation’s infrastructure systems.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), joined by several key committee chairmen, said Monday that the Democrats’ fourth phase of coronavirus stimulus would be largely focused on helping the front-line medical workers, homebound parents and patients afflicted by the deadly virus — people who may have fallen through the cracks, she said, in Congress’s earlier responses to the fast-spreading pandemic.
  • As an additional component, Democrats are also eyeing new funding for water, broadband, schools and other infrastructure systems that have proven insufficient, they said, in the face of the current coronavirus crisis.

Such a funding boost would not only promote public health by updating systems like public drinking water and telemedicine, they argued, it would also create jobs and provide a shot in the arm for an economy devastated by the virus. The Hill’s Mike Lillis explains here.

Flashback–March 3, 2020: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that infrastructure spending would be a “priority” for President Trump if the economy requires stimulus to power through a slowdown caused by a coronavirus outbreak.

LEADING THE DAY

Mnuchin: Administration working on online system to help people get coronavirus relief checks faster: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the administration is working to create an online system that will allow people to submit their direct-deposit information to the government so that they can receive their coronavirus relief checks more quickly.

  • The coronavirus relief law that President Trump signed on Friday creates a program under which people will receive one-time direct payments from the Treasury Department. 
  • For individuals making less than $75,000 and married couples making less than $150,000, the checks amount to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The rebate amounts phase out above those income levels. 

Mnuchin has said that he expects taxpayers who have provided direct deposit information to the IRS to receive their checks within three weeks.

Mnuchin’s comments come as he has taken on a critical role in the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus by serving as a key conduit between Trump and Congress.

  • Mnuchin has helped shepherd through two massive legislative packages aimed at helping address the public health crisis and the ensuing economic fallout, engaging constantly with Democratic leaders despite the considerable partisan divide that has plagued Washington.
  • He’s also been omnipresent at socially-distanced White House briefings and in the halls of Congress as the administration tackles what has become Trump’s largest crisis and the biggest test of his leadership.

The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and Niv Elis have more here.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The stock market on Monday saw a boost even as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to rise and more states issued stay-at-home orders.
  • President Trump on Sunday announced that the White House will keep its guidelines for social distancing in place through the end of April to try to blunt the spread of the coronavirus, a significant shift from less than a week ago, when he said he hoped the country could be “opened up” by Easter Sunday, April 12.
  • Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Monday that the economic downturn stemming from the coronavirus pandemic is unlike any the U.S. has ever seen.
  • President Trump said Sunday that he would push to restore the ability for corporations to deduct the full cost of meals and entertainment from their taxes as the restaurant industry suffers during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Whole Foods workers are set to strike on Tuesday to protest what they say is a lack of employee protections amid the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Democrats are keen on including additional direct payments to Americans in the next coronavirus response bill, arguing more needs to be done to provide financial stability as the pandemic ravages the economy.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • SeaWorld plans to furlough most of its employees as the company has seen crowds disappear at its theme parks across the U.S. due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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