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Virus relief bill possible this week: US Treasury chief

Virus relief bill possible this week: US Treasury chief
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Trump administration 'prepared to put more money on the table'

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The Trump administration and lawmakers could reach a deal this week to provide Americans with badly-needed financial assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Mnuchin said during an interview with CNBC that the administration is willing to raise the amount it is willing to give as part of an overall stimulus package as long as congressional Democrats are "reasonable".

"We're not going to go to unlimited amounts of money that don't make sense," he said, but added: "We’re prepared to put more money on the table."

"If we can get a fair deal, we'll do it this week," he said.

Talks between Democrats who control the House of Representatives and Trump administration broke down on Friday after the parties were unable to agree to a compromise in the cavernous differences in their spending proposals.

US President Donald Trump and Republicans have been seeking a roughly $1 trillion package, while the Democratic proposal exceeds $3 trillion. At issue are expired employment benefits, stimulus payments, food assistance, aid to cash-strapped state and local governments, and coronavirus vaccine development funds.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats came down on the dollar amount of the package they want to about $2 trillion to meet Republicans half way, but she said the proposal was shot down outright.

Trump took executive action on Saturday to unilaterally take some steps towards providing the stimulus, but it is nowhere near what the packages that are being debated would call for, and has raised the prospect of legal action as it is unclear if the president has the authority he needs to carry out the measures.

Complicating matters, the Republican congressional caucuses are split on support for any additional funding, and Democrats would likely provide the lion's share of votes in the Republican-controlled Senate for any prospective spending bill.

When asked during Monday's interview, Mnuchin declined to state when talks would resume.

source: News Feed
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