May 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Mnuchin: White House will decide on more coronavirus relief in "a few weeks"

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House may wait "a few weeks" before considering another relief bill to stem the economic devastation of the coronavirus.

The big picture: President Trump said last week that he's "in no rush" to negotiate a deal for another stimulus package, just as the U.S. reported its worst unemployment rates since the Great Depression.

  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that "many people would like to just pause for a moment" and "take a look at the economic impact of this massive assistance program."
  • He added that there are no "formal negotiations" yet on a new stimulus bill, but that there has been outreach between the two sides.
  • Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said that Democrats may introduce a "phase four" coronavirus stimulus bill as soon as this week.

What they're saying: "What the president and I are now saying is we spent a lot of money, a lot of this money is not even into the economy yet," Mnuchin said. "Let's take the next few weeks — I'm having discussions with both the Republicans and the Democrats to understand these issues. The president and I are having conversations with outside people."

  • "We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers' money, that we do it carefully. We had an emergency process, it worked quickly, we're there to help the American people. ... We're willing to spend whatever it takes. But whatever it takes needs to be done carefully."
  • Mnuchin claimed there is "no considerable risk" to public health from rolling back lockdown orders in certain cities, arguing that there's more risk in keeping the lockdown in place due to the potential long-term economic damage.

Between the lines: Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Pelosi have each set out their red lines for the next phase of relief.

  • Trump has called for a payroll tax cut to incentivize employers to bring back workers, but the idea has been met with resistance from Democrats and some Republicans.
  • McConnell is demanding liability protection for businesses that reopen.
  • Pelosi and Democrats are calling for more funding for states that are suffering from massive revenue losses and budget deficits due to stay-at-home orders.

Go deeper: The geographic inequity of small business coronavirus aid

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