- Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said any bipartisan stimulus agreement would include another round of $US1,200 checks for Americans.
- “We have reached an agreement that if there is a deal, there are direct payments similar to last time that are in the package,” he said of talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- Millions of $US1,200 federal checks were sent to Americans this past spring.
- A stimulus deal would most likely carry a price tag of at least $US1.5 trillion, and it’s unclear that Senate Republicans would back a plan of that size.
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday evening that any stimulus agreement would contain a second round of $US1,200 direct payments to American taxpayers.
In an interview on Fox Business, Mnuchin reiterated the Trump administration’s opposition to the $US2.2 trillion economic-aid plan that Democrats are pressing for to relieve the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Treasury secretary said an agreement was struck with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that any such legislation would include federal payments for Americans.
“We have reached an agreement that if there is a deal, there are direct payments similar to last time that are in the package,” he said.
Mnuchin also said the White House was seeking to provide more federal aid to small businesses and schools as well as additional funds to coronavirus testing and tracing.
“If there is a fair compromise, we’re prepared to do it,” he said, adding: “There are a lot of areas where we have an agreement on.”
Mnuchin’s comments signal the White House may be inching toward an agreement with Democrats as the two sides strive for common ground on new economic aid. On Wednesday, he met with Pelosi on Capitol Hill for the first time since talks collapsed in August. The pair have been negotiating for four days.
Still, if a last-minute deal is reached between Democrats and the White House, it’s unclear whether Republicans in the Senate would back a plan likely to carry a price tag of $US1.5 trillion or above.
Many GOP senators oppose government spending that increases the federal debt. Lawmakers have approved over $US3 trillion in federal aid since the pandemic began devastating the economy in the spring.
A “skinny” relief plan from Republicans including only $US300 billion in new spending sparked significant opposition within their party earlier this month. It omitted direct payments to shrink the cost of the package.
Democrats initially prepared a Wednesday-evening House vote on their $US2.2 trillion spending package. But they pushed it back until Thursday in hope of allowing more time for an agreement with the White House, CNN reported. It’s unlikely that the Democratic plan will become law given staunch GOP opposition.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tore into the Democratic plan on Wednesday, saying it was “outlandish” and the amount was “too high.”
In March, Congress and Trump approved $US1,200 relief checks for many American adults plus an additional $US500 for each child under the age of 17 through the CARES Act. Individuals qualified for a full payment when they earned below $US75,000 a year. For married couples, the threshold was $US150,000.
Trump has long backed sending another wave of direct payments.
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