Mnuchin Says There Is a ‘Strong Likelihood’ of Needing Another Pandemic Bill

May 21, 2020 Updated: May 21, 2020

There is a strong chance of another pandemic stimulus package being needed, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.

“We’re going to carefully review the next few weeks,” Mnuchin said in an interview. “I think there is a strong likelihood we will need another bill” following the already approved $3 trillion “we’re pumping into the economy.”

He added that White House officials will review the progress of the U.S. economy after “a few weeks” and evaluate “very clearly how we need to spend more money and if we need to do that,” The Hill reported.

Several days ago, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett made similar remarks but said a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus response bill may not be necessary.

“I think it’s possible that we will see a strong enough economy that we don’t need a phase four,” Hassett told reporters at the White House on May 18.

Last week, House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, which would deliver $1,200 to eligible Americans, deliver relief to state and local governments, and included a number of other measures. President Donald Trump and top GOP members of Congress have expressed an unwillingness to support the bill, saying it included a number of unnecessary provisions.

Mnuchin told the website that the HEROES Act was a “partisan bill” that isn’t a focus of the White House, adding that previous stimulus bills have bipartisan support, which the HEROES Act does not have.

Some GOP senators have said that while the HEROES Act is dead on arrival, Congress needs to move quickly on another piece of stimulus legislation, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he wants to move slowly and evaluate whether it is necessary as states begin to reopen their economies.

Epoch Times Photo
People enjoy a warm day during the CCP virus outbreak, at Domino Park in Brooklyn, New York City, N.Y. on May 16, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

At the same time, the U.S. economy continues to suffer losses amid the pandemic closures.

Another 2.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the last week, said the Labor Department. It brings the total of those who filed for unemployment to 39 million in March.

Mnuchin, in the interview, said lawmakers may extend the time frame for small businesses to spend the coronavirus aid they got from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was included in March’s CARES Act.

“One of the things we are working with Congress on, and there is bipartisan support, is lengthening the eight-week period,” Mnuchin said. “There is bipartisan support to extend that to 10 or 12 weeks … That’s definitely something we want to fix.”