Although the country’s economy is on-track for the speediest “recovery from any crisis in U.S. history,” targeted coronavirus relief is still needed, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Mnuchin testified before the Senate Banking Committee on September 24 to discuss the Department of Treasury’s current relief efforts, claiming that the economy has made a “major recovery” since the virus sent financial shockwaves throughout the U.S. nearly six months ago.
“Recovery has been strong because the Administration and Congress work together on a bipartisan basis to deliver the largest economic relief package in American history,” the Treasury secretary stated, citing the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed back in March.
While the economy gained roughly 10.6 million jobs, “nearly 50% of the jobs lost due to the pandemic,” in August, as well as a drop in unemployment rates to 8.4%, targeted aid is still needed for those industries “hardest hit,” Mnuchin continued.
Mnuchin expressed that there is “bipartisan support for legislation that supports kids and jobs,” especially extending the Paycheck Protection Program for smaller businesses needing a second payment.
“I think that would be very meaningful for the economy broadly and for those most impacted as a result of COVID,” he said.
Stimulus negotiations have yet again reached an impasse as congressional leaders continue to argue over the overall price tag.
While “there is no timetable,” according to Forbes, the House is scheduled to adjourn on October 2, allowing representatives to go back to their districts and campaign, while the Senate is scheduled to go on a break after October 9, Value Walk added.
“Let’s pass things we agree on quickly,” Mnuchin stated during the hearing. “We can always come back and do more.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump’s Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow Echoed Mnuchin’s Sentiments
Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow previously expressed on CNBC’s The Exchange that, even if certain industries could benefit from a second round of relief, the funds aren’t required to spur recovery.
“I don’t think the V-shaped recovery depends on the package, but I do think a targeted package could be a great help,” Kudlow said on September 22. “Even though I think the economy is improving nicely, it could use some help in some key, targeted places.”
He reiterated to reporters on September 25 that there is an extra $130 billion “sloshing around” from the first round of the Small Business Administration loans that can be “repurposed.”
Kudlow said the White House hopes to funnel extra aid toward K-12 education, including equipment for testing and infrastructure needs, as well as an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program.
House Democrats are Currently Working on a $2.4 Trillion Proposal
On September 24, House Democrats began drafting a $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package, including additional extended federal unemployment benefits, another round of stimulus checks and funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, Politico reported.
The outlet confirmed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed committee chairs to draft a smaller version of their previously proposed $3 trillion package, the HEROES Act, but did not disclose details surrounding the specific measures.
“We are still striving for an agreement,” Pelosi said to her team, according to an inside source, Politico reported. “If necessary, we can formalize the request by voting on it on the House floor.”
Pelosi expressed on Sunday that another coronavirus stimulus plan is still possible, CNBC added.