Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed concerns that another stimulus measure might not be approved by Congress before the November election, suggesting that Democrats may be unwilling to pass a bill because it could benefit President Donald Trump’s reelection chances.
“Well, I’m not going to speculate on whether we’re going to get something or not,” Mnuchin said in a Sept. 14 interview. “I think there is a compromise if the speaker is willing to move forward. I am somewhat concerned that she’s afraid any deal will be good for the president, and, obviously, we have politics that are getting in the way.”
Mnuchin was referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has rejected Republican and White House proposals that are narrower than she is seeking.
“I will continue to work on this. I’ve told the speaker I’m available anytime to negotiate, no conditions,” he said.
Mnuchin said he’s now working with Pelosi on a continuing resolution to keep the government from shutting down.
“The speaker and I will be working on the [continuing resolution] this week, which is obviously a priority for us to make sure that we don’t shut down the government,” he said.
Efforts to provide additional fiscal stimulus amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic have stalled. More than 194,000 people are reported to have died from the virus in the United States, which also has above 6.5 million reported cases. The pandemic has also negatively affected the U.S. economy as states moved to close down businesses and events in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
While Pelosi and other House Democrats passed the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act in May, the measure hasn’t been taken up by the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans. The Senate last week failed to overcome a 60-vote threshold to send a smaller, $300 billion deal to the floor for debate.
Mnuchin said that Trump is limited in what executive orders he can implement, adding that bipartisan congressional support is required for sweeping measures.
“There are limitations. That’s why it’s very important that we have stimulus that helps areas of the economy that need support,” he said on Sept. 14. But he stressed that he hopes that as the House returns to session, there will be a push for a bipartisan measure.
In recent weeks, Republicans and Democrats have differed on whether to provide funding for state and local governments. Democrats’ HEROES Act sought nearly $1 trillion in aid, while Republicans favor a lesser amount. Trump has called it a bailout for “badly run” states.
Some Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, are wary of passing any bill at all.
“If you’d asked me two or three weeks ago, I’d say very, very negative,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), referring to stimulus aid. However, now he sees “a lot less of an impact than I would have thought two weeks ago,” according to The Wall Street Journal.