WASHINGTON, D.C. — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that bipartisan discussions are underway over whether more government funding is needed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mnuchin said the administration was prepared to back additional coronavirus stimulus money for American businesses if needed, but added that it is carefully monitoring the economy as some states restart activity.
President Trump wants to change taxes to make businesses’ entertainment expenses “fully tax deductible like it used to be…To get people to go back to restaurants,” Mnuchin told Fox Business.
The president is also looking for ways to stimulate travel, Mnuchin said.
“As the economy opens up, I think you’ll see demand coming back,” he said, although it’s “too hard to tell” if international travel could open up later in 2020 or not.
Several major coronavirus relief bills have been passed worth nearly $3 trillion during the pandemic, but Democratic lawmakers and both Republican and Democratic governors have called for billions more to help shore up local governments as they grapple with infections and historic waves of unemployment.
“We’ve put $3 trillion out,” Mnuchin said. “If we need to put more money out to support American business and American workers, the president’s absolutely prepared to do that. We’re also going to take into account what the economic impact is as we open up the economy.
“We’re beginning to have conversations on a bipartisan basis,” he added when asked if June could be a target for the next wave of federal aid from Congress. “We’re going through the issues; we’re going to have very detailed discussions.”
On Sunday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said he would not rule out anything new in a new relief bill, including more money for state and local governments and small businesses.
Spirit Airlines also announced that masks would be mandatory for its passengers; and passengers on United, Delta and JetBlue were expected to begin wearing them as well.