CORONAVIRUS

Second stimulus check: what did Mnuchin say about US deficit?

Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, appeared on CNBC to provide an update on coronavirus relief bill talks among other aspects in discussion.

Second stimulus check: what did Mnuchin say about US deficit?

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is a key player in the ongoing discussions over a new coronavirus relief bill and has been providing us with regular updates, from his perspective, on the situation over a second round of stimulus checks. Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Mnuchin suggested a positive outcome on the Economic Impact Payments was still possible, despite Republicans and Democrats still struggling to find a compromise.

Stimulus checks: Mnuchin eyes compromise

"There is a compromise if the [House] speaker is willing to move forward. I am somewhat concerned that she's afraid any deal would be good for the president," Mnuchin stated as he continued his messaging that party politics were a likely impediment to successful negotiations.

"I've told the speaker [Nancy Pelosi] I am available anytime to negotiation, no conditions," the treasury secretary continued.

With the Democrats pushing for a significantly larger outlay for the relief bill, many Republicans are concerned about the country’s growing debt, something Mnuchin was not interested in discussing right now.

"Now is not the time to worry about shrinking the deficit or shrinking the Fed balance sheet.”

Mask or no mask?

The Treasury Secretary was also asked about the value of mask wearing, given that many supporters of President Trump continue to fight against it.

"I think it's better to wear a mask, than not wear a mask," Mnuchin said. "What we need to do is make sure we get the economy back to where it was before Covid - that is a combination of testing, vaccines and some more fiscal support."

Mnuchin: previous stimulus check comments

“The president and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the economic plan is working,” Mnuchin began his interview on Sunday 6 September with Fox News. And he went on to explain how talks on the relief package were going.

“The president and I believe we should do more stimulus”

Steven Mnuchin

Speaking to the news channel’s chief political anchor, Bret Baier, on Fox News Sunday, Mnuchin pushed that “the president and I believe we should do more stimulus” as a means to getting more than 17 million people back into jobs and helping businesses. But asked where the sticking point came, he was clear about where to point the blame.

The speaker has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a $2.5 trillion deal in advance,” Mnuchin stated.

Targeted, not ‘skinny’ bill

Baier posed the question if Senate Republicans would move for a so-called ’skinny’ bill in the coming week, something Mnuchin preferred to call a ‘more targeted bill’.

“As you know, we put $3 trillion into the economy when the economy was completely shut down and we’ve now reopened the economy. Let’s do a more targeted bill now and if we need to do more in 30 days we’ll continue to do more, but let’s not hold up the American workers and the American businesses that need more support.”

Government shutdown avoidance

Mnuchin was also asked about the agreement made with the Speaker on government funding for a continuing resolution (CR).

"We both don’t want to do a government shutdown so we’ve agreed that we are going to do a clean CR," Mnuchin explained. “We’ll do this separately from the CARES Act negotiations.”

“I hope by the end of the week we can can begin moving forward with that, because that’s important to the American people.”

“We haven’t agreed on the specific details,” Mnuchin said when asked about how long it would keep the government going, but he believed that it would go "through the beginning of December.”

National debt management 'like a war'

As well as other topics up for discussion, including reports about Donald Trump calling fallen US troops ‘losers’, Mnuchin also considered the challenge of addressing the national debt.

Election stimulus | President Donald Trump has a vested interest in American households feeling positive about government actions.

"Before we got into Covid I thought the debt was very manageable," he said. "This is like a war. In a war, you've got to spend whatever you need to spend."

"Once the economy is back, we will focus on this issue."