Mnuchin and Pelosi no closer on stimulus even as they agree in principle to fund the government
(CNN) -- The Trump administration and House Democrats have agreed in principle to fund the government past the end of the month -- but don't appear any closer to striking a deal on additional coronavirus stimulus.
Speaking Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he and President Donald Trump continue to press for a narrower package than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is demanding.
"Where we're really stuck is on certain policy issues but more importantly the topline," Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday," referencing the total sum of a stimulus bill.
"Let's do a more targeted bill now," he went on, saying Republicans planned to move on such a package later this week. "If we need to do more in 30 days we'll continue to do more. But let's not hold up the American workers and American businesses."
Asked why Trump hasn't invited Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to the Oval Office for talks, Mnuchin demurred.
"The President constantly has not only his economic team in the Oval Office but now Mark Meadows and I have been on the phone with Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans every single day," he said. "Any legislation requires bipartisan support."
The stalled negotiations with Pelosi do not appear to extend to government funding, which expires at the end of September. Mnuchin said he and Pelosi have agreed to move a clean, continuing resolution this week that would fund the government, though specific details have yet to be sorted.
"We haven't agreed on the specific details but my expectation is it would be through the beginning of December," he said. "We both don't want to see a government shutdown."
What is contained in the stop-gap government funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, and its length remain the topic of discussion between the Trump administration and Democrats.
Mnuchin predicted the unemployment rate would be at pre-pandemic levels by the start of 2021 — if the President wins a second term.
"The President's going to get it back down to 3% or 4% where it was before all of this in the beginning of next year when he's reelection," he said.
And he vowed the President would take steps to address the ballooning national debt if victorious in November.
"I think the former vice president if he were elected would have socialist economic policies that would take the debt out of control," he said of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, though the debt has continued to expand under Trump -- including after his 2017 tax cut, which added about $1.5 trillion to the debt.
"There's no question in a second term, once the economy is back, we will focus on this issue," he said.
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