During an appearance on CNBC yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin blamed Democratic leaders for failing to sit down and strike a “reasonable deal” on the next stimulus bill.
Speaking with host Jim Cramer on Squawk On The Street, Mnuchin said that people have started spending money again. He said that is vitally important to small businesses. These small businesses make up more than half of those in the US.
“The good news is that people are beginning to spend,” Mnuchin started. “But as you said Jim, there’s a lot of need for small businesses. Half of the employment in the US is in small businesses and we need to support them.”
He added that President Trump signed an executive order last weekend. This order extended unemployment benefits for tens of millions of Americans. Since then, a handful of states have already been approved to start issuing checks. Mnuchin also mentioned that even more states are in the process of being approved.
“We’re moving forward, the president’s (executive order) on unemployment, we now have many states that are moving through that process, we have it looks like five states have already been approved, we have another four states that have submitted, and about another 10 states that are in the process.”
Much Needed Help
He said this help from President Trump for unemployed Americans is necessary because leading Democrats are unwilling to be reasonable.
“Despite Congress not acting, because Pelosi and Schumer aren’t willing to sit down and strike a reasonable deal, the president moved forward with the (executive order) to help people who are still unemployed.”
Cramer asked Mnuchin if he expected the remaining states to quickly come up with the money to extend the unemployment benefits.
“I would expect that most of the states qualify, and they can use the $100 they’re paying for unemployment insurance to qualify to get at least another $300 from the federal government, so I hope we see a majority of the states.”
Mnuchin on Finalizing the New Stimulus Plan
Mnuchin said he was hopeful that while Pelosi was back in Washington to deal with the post office funding that she would be willing to sit down and finalize the stimulus plan.
“Hopefully since Speaker Pelosi is coming back to look at (the postal service), hopefully she’ll be more interested in sitting down.”
He added that he knows the financial situation with the postal service very well. After the wall, he has worked on it in the last few years. Also, he didn’t think additional funding was needed. However, Mnuchin was willing to include $10 billion for the postal service in the stimulus bill. This aimed to make sure the service stayed solvent.
That money is now in limbo.
“Speaker Pelosi and (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer and (White House Chief of Staff Mark) Meadows and I agreed on another $10 billion to the post office, which we didn’t think was completely necessary, but we agreed to as part of an overall deal to make sure they have money, and unfortunately we can’t go through with that, we were going to attach that to PPP and direct payments and money for schools and hospitals and vaccines and lots of other important things.”