Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that the White House was considering  sending checks to Americans to alleviate the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic. 

At a White House press conference, Mnuchin did not specify how much could be sent and added that there was a possibility of excluding the rich from the payments.

“We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” he told reporters. “Americans need cash now, and the president wants to get cash now, and I mean now in the next two weeks.”

He mentioned that the payroll tax holiday President Donald Trump preferred would take too long to reach Americans. “The president has instructed me we have to do this now. So this is now,” Mnuchin said. “This is stuff that needs to be done now. The president has instructed me that this is no fault to American workers. For medical reasons, we are shutting down parts of this economy, and we are going to use all the tools we have.”

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Restaurants, bars and other venues have started to shut down across the country to encourage social distancing. The White House also released new guidelines on Monday that suggested Americans avoid crowds larger than 10, work and take classes from home, and to avoid dining out. 

As of Tuesday, there have been more than 5,000 confirmed coronavirus cases across the country, and more than 90 deaths have been reported. 

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) proposed sending every American $1,000 and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) is supporting a similar plan to provide economic relief. 

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