Sept. 2 (UPI) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday called for Congress to provide a new coronavirus stimulus package, saying he would reach out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to restart talks.
Appearing before the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, Mnuchin said a bipartisan agreement providing “substantial funds” for schools, testing, vaccines, small businesses, enhanced unemployment benefits and the U.S. Postal Service is needed to help the economy recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we continue to see signs of a strong economic recovery, we are sensitive to the fact that there is more work to be done and certain areas of the economy require additional relief,” he said.
Mnuchin said he doesn’t support a $2.2 trillion package, which Pelosi has said is the minimum Democrats would accept, but added he and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows “conceded” to provide more money for cities and states in a bill worth as much as $1.5 trillion.
“What is more important is what is the breakdown of getting money to American workers, American families, kids … there are tremendous areas of agreement and that’s what we should be doing right away,” he said.
Chairman of the subcommittee Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said he hoped Mnuchin would return to negotiations with Congress after failing to make a deal when Democrats passed the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act in May.
“Additional economic stimulus is urgently needed,” Clyburn said. “As the pandemic drags on, states, cities and businesses are warning that more layoffs may be coming.”
Mnuchin said he would call Pelosi “right after the hearing” after Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., asked if he would commit to rekindling negotiations.