Stimulus Checks 2: Treasury Secretary Says He Will Give Ground

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Getty House Democrats are calling for another round of stimulus checks in their new $2.2 trillion proposal.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, says he will give ground when it comes to the amount of a second stimulus relief package. That’s the characterization of Mnuchin’s comments in a CNBC report.

That could spell good news for a second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks. Or does it?

Right now the wrangling between the White House and House Democrats hasn’t gotten anywhere, with countering proposals of $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion respectively. The checks are caught up in that debate because they’re folded into the broader stimulus relief plan that neither side agrees on. President Donald Trump did previously urge Congress to split out a second round of direct payments but so far Congress has not been willing to do that.

Trump can’t get stimulus checks done on his own because Congress received funding authority in the Constitution. Meanwhile, in a further snag, the Senate Majority Leader, a Republican, said his members won’t agree to a plan in the $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion range, preferring something closer to $500 billion, which is so much lower than the Democrats’ plan that it’s likely to be a non-starter for them.

Here’s what you need to know:

Mnuchin Insists He’s Trying to Come to a Deal

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GettyU.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Even as Senate Republicans have grown firmer in their rhetoric about what they won’t accept, Mnuchin has continued to ring the bell of compromise.

CNBC reported that Mnuchin said he will give ground even as the other parties stalemate.

For his part, President Donald Trump, with the election around the corner, indicated he’d support an amount even higher than $1.8 trillion. “I would. Absolutely I would. I would say more. I would go higher. Go big or go home, I said it yesterday,” the president told Fox Business, according to CNBC.

“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to give anything. She thinks it helps her with the election,” Trump said. “And I don’t think so. I think it hurts her with the election because everyone knows she’s holding it up. We’re not holding it up. She’s holding it up.”

McConnell Isn’t in Agreement With the White House

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GettySenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Mnuchin and the White House now also have to contend with Mitch McConnell and his Senate Republicans. According to The Hill, McConnell made it clear that his members will only support $500 billion and think both the White House and the Democratic plans come in too high.

“My members think half a trillion dollars, highly targeted, is the best way to go,” McConnell said, according to The Hill. He said the White House figure is higher than “I can sell to my members.”

For her part, Pelosi said, according to The Washington Post, “I’m not putting anything off until January. The last thing I want is to have Joe Biden come in, and we have to sweep behind this elephant in January. We have to be ready for what comes next. And we will be.”

She’s remained firm on the $2.2 trillion amount and has been harshly critical of Republicans for taking what she considers two step backs and not approving an amount that she thinks will meet the needs of Americans. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has painted Pelosi as the intransigent one in Twitter comments, as both sides try to score points with the election around the corner.

According to The Washington Post, some Democrats are urging Pelosi to reach a deal. “When families and businesses are hurting, and it looks like we have to wait until February for action, we simply can’t dismiss any help out of hand,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), the leader of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, told The Post. “I‘m sure there are areas for improvement, but we should stay at the table until we can get this across the finish line.”

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