The White House will begin making direct payments to Americans within three weeks of a $2.2trn coronavirus economic aid measure becoming law, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced.

As that bill awaits Senate and House action, Donald Trump said he hopes the bill will tide the US economy over “for a long time.” If it doesn’t and the pandemic outbreak worsens, the president said he will “go back” to Congress for more federal monies.

The economic aid bill is awaiting Senate action, with several GOP members objecting to language they say would allow workers to make more via unemployment benefits that would be increased temporarily if the bill becomes law. But those four senators appear to lack the votes to do more than hold up the legislation, meaning it will pass the Senate this week.

“Our expectation is this bill passes tonight,” Mr Mnuchin said of the Senate’s plans.