Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that he believes Democrats are “willing to compromise” on a fourth coronavirus stimulus package, saying that if there is a “fair deal,” the Trump administration will “do it this week.”
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Mnuchin, during an interview on CNBC Monday morning, said he wouldn’t comment on the “specifics of logistics of negotiations" because he does “not think that’s helpful.”
“There is a deal to do if Democrats are reasonable and want to compromise,” Mnuchin said. “And if the attitude is, we’d rather give you nothing than agree on things, then we’re not gonna get a deal.”
“But I heard [Nancy] Pelosi over the weekend,” Mnuchin said. “They’re willing to compromise, so if we can get a fair deal, we’ll do it this week, but the president needed to take action.” He added: “He’s not gonna sit around. Meadows and I reported back to him that we’re going nowhere, and that’s why he took action.”
Mnuchin was referring to his negotiations with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Capitol Hill in recent weeks with congressional leadership, including House Speaker Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
The talks had reached a stalemate over the weekend, prompting President Trump to take executive action over the weekend to provide financial relief to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The executive actions included $400 per week in supplemental unemployment aid — a replacement of the program passed under the CARES Act earlier this year that gave unemployed people $600 a week extra until the federal program expired at the end of July.
The action would require states to pay for 25 percent of the $400 weekly benefit, while the federal government would pick up 75 percent.
The $400 payment to unemployed Americans came as Republicans on Capitol Hill argued that the initial unemployment insurance program disincentivized Americans to get back to work, with many collecting more money unemployed than employed. Republicans pushed for the program to be reduced to $200 per week, while Democrats argued the program should be renewed at the original $600 a week.
The president also signed executive actions that would encourage federal efforts to help renters and homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure for failing to make their monthly payments; defer the payroll tax from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, for employees making $100,000 or less a year; and suspend federal student loan payments and set interest rates to 0% through Dec. 31, 2020 — the current student loan relief program was set to expire on Sept. 30.
Talks had been stuck for weeks, with Democrats demanding more than $3 trillion in the relief bill while Republicans struggled to eventually coalesce around a $1 trillion proposal. Pelosi on Thursday proposed the parties each give $1 trillion and pass a $2 trillion proposal, but Mnuchin said on Friday the idea was a "non-starter."