Mnuchin Says Different Funding for Coronavirus Testing Won't Derail Stimulus
On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that different funding values for COVID-19 testing won't derail stimulus talks with Democrats, according to CNBC.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has previously stated that the funding for coronavirus testing has been one of the main roadblocks for the package. “One major area of disagreement continues to be that the White House lacks an understanding of the need for a national strategic testing plan,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted. “The Speaker believes we must reopen our economy & schools safely & soon, & scientists agree we must have a strategic testing plan.”
“That issue is getting overblown,” Mnuchin said. “We’ve agreed to $178 billion overall for health. It’s an extraordinary amount of money. We’d agreed with the Democrats with $75 billion going to testing, contact tracing.”
“What we have been focused on is the language around testing,” he added. “When I speak to Pelosi today, I’m going to tell her that we’re not going to let the testing issue stand in the way. We’ll fundamentally agree with their testing language subject to some minor issues. This issue is being overblown.”
The country has been without benefits for over a month now as lawmakers continue to debate a new package. The coronavirus has continued to spread with 52,345 cases on Wednesday and no promising news from vaccine producers or public health officials. The US needs more stimulus and Mnuchin's comments will hopefully get the ball rolling again. Negotiations between the House and the Trump administration have been deadlocked for weeks.
The Trump administration recently proposed a $1.8 trillion relief package, but Democrats believe it is insufficient and want $2.2 trillion. The Republican-led Senate appears to favor a smaller deal than the White House or Democrats have proposed.