Mnuchin urges Congress to pass massive economic relief bill by next week
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[March 20, 2020]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury
Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday urged Congress to move quickly to
pass a $1 trillion economic relief measure by early next week, saying he
expects bipartisan support for the bill to get cash payments to
Americans during the coronavirus crisis.
Mnuchin, in an interview on Fox Business Network, said the federal
government was focused on being able to provide liquidity to companies
and had no problem issuing more debt, but that it expected loans to
businesses to be paid back.
Congress is taking up its third legislative package to address the
coronavirus pandemic as the response to the crisis shutters U.S.
businesses and puts pressure on the nation's healthcare system.
Lawmakers already have passed a $105 billion-plus plan to limit the
damage from the coronavirus pandemic through free testing, paid sick
leave and expanded safety-net spending as well as an $8.3 billion
measure to combat the spread of the pathogen and develop vaccines. U.S.
President Donald Trump has signed both into law.
The Trump administration now wants another $1.3 trillion in aid to help
businesses and individual Americans harmed economically by the virus,
with Mnuchin on Thursday saying the plan was not a bailout for
"We're going to get through this," Mnuchin said. "This is not the
financial crisis that will go on for years."
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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before the Senate
Finance Committee during a hearing on the President's FY2021 Budget
on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri
Mnuchin also rejected any suggestion that U.S. tariffs were keeping
Chinese-made medicines out of the United States.
"We're doing everything to make sure the supply chains stay open,"
he said, noting that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had
waived tariffs on any critical items.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Susan
Heavey; Editing by Will Dunham)
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