Mnuchin: Gov’t Shutdown Avoided, Dems Still Won’t Negotiate Stimulus Bill
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently made a “Fox News Sunday” appearance. In it, he said that Republicans and Democrats still can’t reach an agreement on the next stimulus bill. However, he mentioned that a deal is in the works to avoid the government shutting down on September 30.
Mnuchin said the continuing resolution would keep the government running into December. He says it is expected to be voted on by Congress by the end of the week.
“We are going to do a clean CR,” said Mnuchin. He added, “For now, the most important thing is to make sure at the end of the month we don’t shut down the government and we get something past the election.”
The “clean” temporary spending bill means neither side of the aisle would attempt to include any of the contested items from the stimulus bill as a requirement for approving this spending bill.
Negotiations on the next stimulus bill are at a stalemate. This happens Democrats are still unwilling to come down from their $2.5 trillion package. This package is essentially a bailout plan for local and state governments. Democrats want nearly $1 trillion in additional relief for states and municipalities while the Trump administration has proposed $150 billion in new funding.
Pelosi Refuses to Negotiate
Mnuchin said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has simply refused to sit down and negotiate in good faith.
“The speaker has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a $2.5 trillion deal in advance,” Mnuchin said. “As you know, we put $3 trillion into the economy when the economy was completely shut down and we’ve now reopened the economy. Let’s do a more targeted bill now and if we need to do more in 30 days we’ll continue to do more.”
President Trump agrees that “we should do more stimulus,” Mnuchin told Fox. However, he said, “Where we’re really stuck is both on certain policy issues and more importantly, the top line.”
Republicans are expected to put together a $500 billion “skinny” bill this week. It will only include items that both sides have agreed upon. This would include extra unemployment insurance, new small business loans, and money for schools. It would also have funding for Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. The bill is not expected to include a second round of direct payments to Americans.
Mnuchin also fielded questions about the ballooning national debt, but said he will worry about that once the economy has recovered.
“Before we got into COVID I thought the debt was very manageable,” Mnuchin said, adding that the pandemic changed the government’s priorities about managing debt.
“This is like a war,” he said. “In a war, you’ve got to spend whatever you need to spend. Once the economy is back, we will focus on this issue.”