Mnuchin questioned by lawmakers over White House’s response to economic crisis

William Arsn

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned to Capitol Hill Tuesday, not to negotiate with Congressional leaders on the next COVID-19 relief package, but rather to be grilled regarding President Donald Trump’s response to ongoing economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

Mnuchin fielded questions from House lawmakers on the Trump administration’s handling of the economic fallout, many of which asking what additional stimulus money is needed to help Americans get through it.

“More fiscal response is needed, the president and I want to move forward with more fiscal response,” Mnuchin said.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, said as the pandemic rages on, additional stimulus money is necessary to help abate the record unemployment.

“There are urgent steps the administration must take to prevent our economic crisis from becoming a catastrophe,” he said.

Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Democrat-run states are holding back the country’s economic recovery.

“If Democratic governors would let people go back to work in their states, we’d probably have less unemployment,” Jordan said.

“I believe there’s no question that the reason we have unemployment is that certain states are not opening up,” Mnuchin added.

The hearing comes as Congress remains at an impasse with the White House over the next COVID-19 relief package. Democratic lawmakers called for Mnuchin to return to the table to continue negotiations.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, questioned Mnuchin on providing more aid to state and local governments.

“Do you agree ─ state and local budget cuts and layoffs will excerpt a serious drag?” she asked.

“No question that we should not be having layoffs of policemen, firemen and others,” he replied.

Mnuchin said he remains committed to passing a bipartisan package to help the nation’s economy recover.

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