Trump Administration Blinks as Democrats Stand Firm on Coronavirus Relief
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that the White House is open to a more generous economic relief package a mere two days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order extending the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program at a reduced rate of $400 per week through the end of the year.
Note: Trump does not have the constitutional authority to unilaterally spend money. That power lies with Congress, and Democratic lawmakers are steadfastly demanding a renewal of the $600 per week PUA through at least January 2021.
“The president is determined to spend what we need to spend,” Mnuchin said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street. “We’re prepared to put more money on the table.”
Watch the clip below:
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered to knock a trillion dollars off the price of the HEROES Act – a $3.4 trillion dollar bill passed by the House in May that has sat on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) desk for nearly three months – if Republicans agree to add a trillion dollars to their plan.
“‘We’ll take down a trillion if you add a trillion in.’ They said absolutely not,” Pelosi said, flanked by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The reductions would be achieved by implementing shorter-term extensions to government aid programs.
“I will once again make the offer: We’ll come down a trillion, you go up a trillion, and then we’ll be within range of each other,” Pelosi said. “But again, this a very different set of values across the table.”‘
Republicans – including Mnuchin – yet again said no. But with the economy teetering on the brink of catastrophe, soaring COVID-19 fatalities, and Trump slipping in presidential election polling, the White House may have finally blinked.
“I think there is a compromise if the Democrats are willing to be reasonable. There are still a lot of things we need to do and that we agree on,” he added.