On Monday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the county needs another stimulus check, despite Republican concerns for the national deficit. Mnuchin made his remarks in an interview on CNBC, saying that the economy "clearly" needs more aid to push through the coronavirus crisis. He encouraged other members of his party to save their worries about the national debt for when the virus is behind us.
"Now is not the time to worry about shrinking the deficit or shrinking the Fed balance sheet," Mnuchin said, speaking from the White House. "There was a time when the Fed was shrinking the balance sheet and coming back to normal. The good news is that gave them a lot of room to increase the balance sheet, which they did. And I think both the monetary policy working with fiscal policy and what we were able to get done in an unprecedented way with Congress is the reason the economy is doing better."
Mnuchin's commentary was taken as criticism of other Republicans, particularly in the United States Senate. Senate Republicans have resisted compromising with the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, refusing to raise the budget for the next stimulus bill. This is the latest sign that the Republican-controlled White House does not necessarily hold the same interests as the Senate.
Republicans have cited the dropping unemployment rate, strong housing figures and other economic data as a sign that the U.S. is recovering well on its own, and does not need much — if any — stimulus going forward. However, Mnuchin argued that these lawmakers are ignoring the impact that the previous stimulus bill had on this recovery, and underestimating how its absence will make things worse.
"We are rebounding in a very, very significant way," Mnuching said. "I think there's many areas of this where there's an agreement between the Democrats and the Republicans, and some of the areas we do have differences on the amounts. But I will continue to work on this: I've told the speaker I'm available any time to negotiate."
Still, Americans are weighing Mnuchin's hopeful words against those of other politicians on both sides of the aisle, who have been increasingly hinting that another stimulus check may not pass at all. That includes White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who said earlier this month that "we can live without" more financial aid. Senators and congressional reps have issued similarly pessimistic warnings about the bill, leading some desperate Americans to lose hope for another payment.