This is a summary of President Donald Trump’s press conference on Thursday, April 2:
We’re going to save a lot of American lives. Maintain social distancing. Practicing hygiene.
While you’re fighting this battle from home…we’re working with the best researchers in the world…on vaccines.
We’re racing to get relief to small business workers. I want to remind owners the paycheck protection loans are launching tomorrow. These loans are up to 100 percent forgivable if you keep paying workers.
Social Security recipients do not have to have filed a tax form to get the stimulus. I will always protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza:
Small business is the backbone of the American economy. We are working hard to get money to them quickly.
We know there will be challenges. The private and public sector must work together to make sure workers are put first. If you are a small business, you are a critical part of this economy. At SBA we are working around the clock.
The paycheck protection program will help keep workers on the payroll and businesses open. Forgive the loan for certain expenses. Working with lenders so businesses will go to them. This is in addition to advances on small business disaster loans and forgiving existing SBA loans over the next six months. Go online to sba.gov.
Our hearts go out to those affected by this terrible virus. The importance of patience is urged. We are expanding capacity.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin:
We’ve heard feedback from many banks and have made this system easier. It will be open Friday for businesses of 500 or less workers. You will get the money the same day. Please bring your workers back to work. You have eight weeks plus overhead.
We will raise the interest rate on these loans to 1 percent, at no cost to borrowers. We heard from some small community banks to make attractive for community banks.
The economic impact payments. In two weeks, the first payments will be direct-deposited into taxpayers’ accounts.
A reporter asked about an alleged power struggle happening between Treasury and the SBA, as well as the loans not being affordable for some banks to process. Mnuchin: We at Treasury and the SBA are working together. We made the loan form simpler. I told banks they will never see such a good deal from a government-backed loan again.
Mnuchin was asked about alleged problems with the timing of the stimulus payments. He said he is delivering them in two weeks, ahead of the promised three weeks.
A reporter asked about people who do not have direct deposit and if it would take five weeks. Mnuchin: President Barack Obama took months to send out his stimulus. We are taking two weeks. Social Security recipients will get it quickly.
Mnuchin was asked if there will be another stimulus deal. Mnuchin said he spoke with congressional leaders. If the government runs out of small business funds, Treasury will go back to Congress for more.
The government has $6 trillion in liquidity available to support businesses.
A reporter asked what incentives do small businesses like restaurants have to apply for payroll loans if they laid off workers so they could draw unemployment. Mnuchin said those loans will turn into grants if companies hire workers back. Businesses will get money for workers’ medical as well as for rent and for electricity. We want you to have a business you can reopen quickly when it’s appropriate.
Additional Trump comments:
New guidelines to protect the elderly: Nursing homes should have suspended entry of all unnecessary people. We recommend all nursing homes assign the same staff to the same group of residents to minimize the spread. Designate separate areas for healthy and sick residents. We will probably do this after the virus is gone.
Relief for veterans: Extend deadlines for benefits and postpone debt collections
We are collecting over 100,000 virus tests a day. The FDA authorized the first antibody test to understand the immune systems of people who recovered.
Trump is using the Defense Production Act to make sure manufacturers have the supplies to make ventilators. Over 100,000 ventilators are planned. More orders are expected for face masks.
General Motors said they will start building ventilators soon.
New York: FEMA continues to deliver resources. On top of 3,000 beds added to the Javits Center, the government is adding 48 ICU beds. Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked that the center be turned into a COVID-19 hospital. The federal government, including military, will staff it. We will add 2,500 to 2,900 hospital beds. We have agreed to staff hospitals in Louisiana and Dallas. We have delivered these supplies to New York: over 4 million N95 masks, 1 million surgical masks, 460,000 face shields and 4,400 ventilators.
“All of America stands with New York at this time.”
This is not the time for politics. Partisan investigations have damaged our country. The middle of a pandemic is not the time for this.