Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that he and senior GOP lawmakers will seek to work out a targeted stimulus package with Democrats in the coming weeks.
Mnuchin stated that he and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. And Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., To meet later Friday To develop ideas for a more targeted aid package.
Mnuchin, who has led President Donald Trump's stimulus discussions with Meadows for months, was optimistic that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Senate Minority Chairperson Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., would come after Congress 2020 elections could be more open to compromise.
"I can tell you, Mark Meadows, and I'm going to speak to Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy this morning," he said. "And we're going to work out a plan to sit down with Pelosi and Schumer and try to make a targeted bill for the people who really need them. And hopefully the Democrats will work with us."
Legislators have been struggling for months to provide additional economic stimulus with no signs of approaching the finish line. McConnell shared his thoughts on more suggestions on Friday afternoon.
"Republicans continue to support the adoption of such urgent and targeted measures as soon as possible," he said in a press release. "American workers shouldn't lose their jobs unnecessarily if a second round of the labor-saving paycheck protection program made a big difference to the hardest-hit small businesses."
"Our medical system shouldn't be denied additional support, including for the distribution of the life-saving vaccines looming on the horizon," added the Senate Majority Leader.
Congress passed a historic $ 2 trillion bill in March known as the CARES Act, which included funding the paycheck protection program, improved unemployment benefits, and $ 1,200 direct payments to most U.S. workers.
However, many of these stimulus programs expired or were used up over the summer, fueling the debate on Capitol Hill over whether they need to be revived.
Democrats have come out in favor of more robust spending to not only expand unemployment benefits and PPPs, but also to support state and local governments that have faced large budget deficits due to the impact of the coronavirus on business.
The White House and Senate Republicans, who say they are more concerned about the price, have called for smaller, more targeted measures that would limit aid to the hardest-hit industries like travel, restaurants and hospitality.
"I understand that the Democrats didn't want us to do anything before the elections because they didn't want to do anything that could help the president," Mnuchin added on Friday morning. "But I was hoping that now that the elections are over, the Democrats would work with us."
Democrats control the House and will hold a smaller majority when the next Congress begins in January. The Republicans now have a Senate majority, and two runoff elections in Georgia in January will decide whether to keep them for the next two years. The Democrats won a Senate seat in this month's elections.
President-elect Joe Biden backed Democrats' call for a bill that will cost at least $ 2.2 trillion.
The secretary's comments were met with even greater interest on Friday morning, less than a day after the Treasury Department announced it would not attempt to extend a handful of loan programs established at the Federal Reserve in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Funding for these programs will expire at the end of the year and would require Congressional approval if Mnuchin wishes to extend their expiration date.
The credit facilities include corporate bond purchases, loans to state and local governments, and the Main Street Lending program to small and medium-sized businesses. The Fed said it wanted to extend the programs.