WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Thursday his administration was considering further economic measures, possibly via executive orders, to provide help against the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In remarks to reporters at the White House, Trump appeared to confirm the possibility of further postponement of the deadline for filing 2019 federal income tax returns, already extended by three months to July 15.
“Things could happen like that. We have to help people,” Trump said in response to a question about the tax deadline and economic measures that would not require congressional action.
“We can do things … through executive order or otherwise that can help a lot of people … like delays. We can do delays of various files. … I can see that happening,” he said.
Congress has passed major coronavirus relief bills worth nearly $3 trillion, including payments of $1,200 to many individuals and more than $650 billion in loans to small businesses.
Asked whether there would be more direct payments to individuals, Trump said: “Well, something could happen. There’s talk about something happening. We’ll see what’s going on.”
The coronavirus has killed more than 75,000 people and infected more than 1.25 million in the United States. About 33.5 million people have filed claims for unemployment benefits since March 21, equivalent to roughly one out of every five workers losing their job in just over a month.
Trump said the greatest thing that could happen was to “get our country open again and get it going again and have people have these great jobs again.”
NBC, citing a Trump administration official, reported ahead of Trump’s remarks that the timing of any announcements will depend on Americans’ reopening businesses and returning to work.
Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler