Finance Minister Stephen Mnuchin said on Friday that he and senior Republican lawmakers would try to devise a targeted stimulus package with Democrats in the coming weeks.
Mnuchin explained that he and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows would meet later Friday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, to consider ideas for a more targeted aid package.
Mnuchin, who has been in talks with Meadows for months to stimulate President Donald Trump, expressed some optimism that Majority Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer may be more open compromise after the 2020 elections
“I can tell you Mark Meadows and I̵
Speakers from Pelosi and Sumer did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Lawmakers have been struggling for months to pass on additional economic stimulus with little sign of approaching the finish line. Congress passed a historic $ 2 trillion bill in March, known as the CARES Act, that included funding for the Wage Protection Program, increased unemployment benefits and $ 1,200 in direct payments to American workers.
But many of these incentives expired or were exhausted over the summer, fueling the Capitol Hill debate over whether they should be revived.
Democrats have called for more substantial spending that will not only increase unemployment benefits and PPPs, but also help support the state and local governments through steep budget deficits due to the impact of the coronavirus on business.
Republicans in the White House and Senate, who say they are more concerned about the price, are calling for smaller, more targeted measures to limit aid to the hardest-hit industries, such as travel, restaurants and hospitality.
“I understand that the Democrats did not want to do anything before the election because they did not want to do something that could be useful to the president,” Mnuchin added on Friday morning. “But I hoped that now that we have passed the election, the Democrats will now work with us.”
The secretary’s comments were taken with even more interest on Friday morning, less than a day after the Treasury said it would not try to expand a handful of lending programs introduced by the Federal Reserve in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. .
Funding for these programs will expire at the end of the year and will require congressional approval if Mnuchin wishes to extend them.
Lending facilities include the purchase of corporate bonds, loans to state and local governments and the Main Street Loan Program for small and medium-sized enterprises. The Fed said it wanted the programs extended.