WASHINGTON, March 21 (Xinhua) -- White House's National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Saturday that the COVID-19 stimulus package under negotiation in the Senate could total about 2 trillion U.S. dollars.
The figure, about 10 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, is roughly twice of what the Trump administration originally requested a few days ago.
"We are just trying to cover the right bases," Kudlow told reporters. He is set to meet with lawmakers on the stimulus package later Saturday.
The Senate introduced the bill on Thursday, outlining provisions to send direct cash payments for working Americans, provide federally guaranteed loans for small businesses and tax cuts for corporations, as well as offering financial support for airlines and other hard-hit industries.
Earlier this week, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a 100-billion-dollar bill to expand paid sick leave, enhance unemployment insurance, boost food assistance funding, and ensure free testing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Labor Department announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to reimburse them for the cost of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also announced Friday the IRS is extending the federal income tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15 as part of the efforts to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Saturday noon, there were nearly 20,000 confirmed cases in the United States, with 275 deaths reported, according to the data tracking tool developed by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.