Mnuchin to Testify Next Week Before House CCP Virus Panel

August 26, 2020 Updated: August 26, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will face lawmakers’ questions over stalled COVID-19 aid negotiations between the White House and Democrats next week when he testifies.

Lawmakers said Wednesday that Mnuchin will appear before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Sept. 1.

The hearing “will examine the urgent need for additional economic relief for children, workers, and families and the Administration’s implementation of key stimulus programs,” according to the panel in a statement.

It comes weeks after talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and the White House collapsed. The two parties were at odds over how much the next round of aid should be, with Democrats initially proposing a $3.4 trillion bill, while Republicans sought a $1 trillion bill.

Key points of contention between the two sides include whether to provide $1 trillion to city and state governments, which Republicans have opposed, and whether to extend a $600-per-week unemployment program.

The dueling stimulus bills are designed to offset economic damage done by the CCP (Chinese Communis Party) virus pandemic.

After talks broke down, Mnuchin, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Schumer, and Pelosi have not met, and both chambers of Congress took their already-scheduled recess.

Previously, Pelosi said that she cut the Democrats’ proposal by about a half, although Schumer said that any amount below $2 trillion could not pass the House or get support among Senate Democrats.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, signed off on executive orders to partially extend supplemental unemployment payments and deferring payment of some payroll taxes. He also sought to issue a moratorium on evictions and defer student loan payments.

Several weeks ago, Trump said he told Mnuchin to ready the distribution of $1,200 stimulus payments and Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans, but he later said that he needs Congress to act first.

The focus of congressional action shifted to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), with House Democrats passing a $25 billion bill that aims to stop planned service cuts. Republicans said the measure is dead-on-arrival in the Senate, while Trump said he will veto the measure.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified in both the Senate and House, coming after he announced he would suspend changes to the USPS operations until the November elections are over. DeJoy faced criticism over reports of mail delays.

In an announcement, he said that post office hours would remain the same, mail processing equipment will remain, and processing facilities will stay open.

“While we have had temporary service decline, which should not have happened, we are fixing this,” DeJoy testified on Monday in the House of Representatives.