Mnuchin Says US Needs ‘Balance’ Between Debt, Pandemic Relief

August 2, 2020 Updated: August 2, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the GOP is trying not to add too much to the national deficit with more COVID-19 relief legislation, while defending Senate Republicans for their delay in coming up with a new package.

Mnuchin said Republicans are trying to see how the money was already spent in prior pandemic relief bills before adding more money.

“We’ve authorized over $3 trillion into the U.S. economy,” Mnuchin told ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday. “This has never been done in the history of time.”

The Treasury secretary said that care is needed to make sure that a relief package can help Americans in the present while not saddling the country with trillions of dollars in debt.

“We wanted to wait and see how the money was going to work, and we have to balance,” Mnuchin said. “There’s obviously a need to support workers, support the economy, people who through no fault of their own are shut down because of this terrible disease. On the other hand, we have to be careful about not piling on enormous amounts of debt for future generations. So the president’s determined to spend what we need to spend, and we’re acting very quickly now.”

Mnuchin, at the same time, noted that President Donald Trump is “very concerned” about federal unemployment benefits expiring for millions of Americans. White House officials have proposed extending the $600-per-week payments for another week, but top Democrats “are insistent on having this as part of a larger deal,” Mnuchin said.

Last week, the Senate GOP proposed the $1 trillion HEALS Act, while Democrats in May passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act.