Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed confidence in the future of the U.S. economy Sunday, and was optimistic about lawmakers’ ability to move forward with a stimulus plan to help Americans deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Mnuchin is set to meet Sunday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to discuss a relief package expected to top $1 trillion.
“I think we have a fundamental understanding and we look forward to wrapping it up today,” Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday.”
Mnuchin explained various aspects of the legislation that lawmakers are currently working on. The first is what he called “small business retention loans,” which he said would give small businesses two weeks of cash flow to pay employees.
“You need to retain them. You’ll also get some overhead. And if you do that, those loans will be forgiven,” Mnuchin said. “That will allow small businesses to keep people, and make sure when we open up the economy, they’re up and running.”
He also said that the government will provide direct deposits, with an average family of four receiving approximately $3,000, as well as “enhanced unemployment insurance” for those laid off due to the outbreak.
The fourth part, Mnuchin said, is “a significant package working with the federal reserve, which will provide “up to $4 trillion of liquidity that we can use to support the economy.”
Mnuchin said the plan is meant to deal with “a 10-to-12-week scenario,” but that they are prepared to do more if it lasts longer.
For the long term, Mnuchin maintained confidence, saying he expects a full economic recovery from the outbreak once it has passed.
“The U.S. economy is strong. We’ve stopped major parts of it, but when we get through this virus, as I’ve said, I think you’re gonna see the U.S. economy come back to the strength, we have great companies, we have great workers,” he said. “What we need to do is have a bridge to get through this. And this isn’t the financial crisis that’s gonna go on for years.”
McConnell announced late Saturday all sides were “very close” to a bipartisan resolution, and the Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on a bill Sunday afternoon.
A spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Saturday there was “not yet an agreement,” but spokesman Justin Goodman said Democrats look forward to reading the draft and further negotiations.
The House and Senate already passed a bipartisan $8.3 billion package to prop up the health care system to prepare for the influx of sick Americans. The second response bill that was signed into law Wednesday aims to bring relief to workers who lost their jobs and families at home for illnesses, quarantines or caring for kids whose schools have shuttered.
“Everybody’s working hard and they want to get to a solution that’s the right solution; I think we’re very close,” President Trump said at a Saturday press briefing, striking a confident tone about the nation’s ability to defeat the pandemic soon.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.