Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is gearing up to draft a targeted coronavirus stimulus package with Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the near future, according to CNBC.
Mnuchin on Friday, November 20, told CNBC that he and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows would later meet with top congressional Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to discuss ideas for a targeted relief bill.
He added that the men will prepare to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to attempt to reach a compromise, the outlet reported.
“I can tell you Mark Meadows and I will be speaking with Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy this morning,” Mnuchin said. “And we are going to come up with a plan to sit down with Pelosi and Schumer and try to get a targeted bill done for the people that really need it. And hopefully the Democrats will work with us.”
Relief talks have yet again reached an impasse as lawmakers continue to argue over the overall cost of the next bill. Democrats are seeking substantial state and local government funding, while Republicans are pushing for employer liability shields, according to a late-October story in the Chicago Tribune.
The White House and Pelosi had been discussing a package between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion, but the talks fell apart leading up to the November 3 election, Business Insider reported. McConnell is now heading up an effort for a smaller, Senate-backed stimulus proposal, the outlet continued.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mnuchin Expressed Democrats May Be Open to Compromise Now That the Election Is Over
The Treasury secretary expressed during CNBC’s Squawk on the Street that Democratic leaders may be more willing to compromise on another stimulus package now that the 2020 elections have come to a close.
“I understand that the Democrats didn’t want us to do anything before the election because they didn’t want to do something that could be helpful to the president,” he stated on November 20, CNBC reported. “But I had hoped, now that we’re now past the election, that the Democrats would now work with us.”
Mnuchin noted that the CARES Act, passed back in March, had “incredible bipartisan support,” according to the outlet. He said the administration will be “redoubling our efforts” to pass legislation as soon as possible, CNBC continued.
McConnell Announced His Support for Mnuchin Later That Day
McConnell announced in a November 20 press release his support for Mnuchin’s latest stimulus comments.
“Republicans continue to support passing these kinds of urgent and targeted measures as soon as possible,” he said. “American workers should not lose their jobs needlessly when a second round of the job-saving Paycheck Protection Program for the hardest-hit small businesses would make a huge difference.”
“Our medical system should not be denied additional support, including for distributing the life-saving vaccines that appear to be on the horizon,” the Senate Majority Leader added.
Following his reelection victory, McConnell advocated for stimulus legislation similar to Senate Republicans’ recent $500 billion proposal — which was blocked by Senate Democrats before the election, according to CNBC. The bill called for additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers loans to small businesses struggling to stay open during the pandemic.
“Our country needs more smart, focused relief that is targeted to schools, healthcare, small businesses, & those who are hurting the most,” he tweeted on November 11. “Not the absurd multi-trillion-dollar socialist wish-lists Democrats have demanded.”
The Senate majority leader expressed that a massive stimulus bill is not needed to reboot the economy, which he claimed is recovering “stronger and faster than anyone predicted.”