WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday said there still could be a deal with Congress for more federal coronavirus aid, a day after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also voiced optimism despite the Senate’s failure to pass an aid bill last week.
“I will continue to work on this. I’ve told the speaker I’m available anytime to negotiate, no conditions,” he told CNBC in an interview.
Efforts to provide additional financial aid amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic have stalled all summer even as the number of U.S. cases continues to climb, now exceeding 6.5 million. More than 194,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19, which has also rocked the nation’s economy.
Pelosi and fellow Democrats who control the House of Representatives passed their $3.4 trillion aid bill in mid-May. The Republican-led Senate failed to get traction on a $1 trillion counterproposal before taking up a slimmed-down $300 billion measure last week that failed to pass.
Asked about executive actions Trump could take if Congress doesn’t reach a deal, Mnuchin noted: “There are limitations. That’s why it very important that we have stimulus that helps areas of the economy that need support.”
He added that he looked forward to a bipartisan proposal from lawmakers expected as soon as Monday. Politico reported the so-called Problem Solvers caucus was preparing a plan that would drop Democrats’ demand for more state and local aid, which had become a sticking point with the Trump administration. Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.
Mnuchin separately told reporters at the White House that he expected details of a continuing resolution to fund U.S. government agencies past Sept. 30 to be finalized this week.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Lisa Lambert and David Lawder; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Jonathan Oatis)