Mnuchin and Powell talk to Congress about pandemic for 2nd consecutive day

Politics

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington,Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, during a hearing on, ‘The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress.’ (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — For a second day in a row, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell are testifying before Congress on coronavirus relief. Mnuchin and Powell will speak before the House Committee on Financial Services Wednesday morning, for a hearing on their agencies’ pandemic response measures.

On Tuesday, the pair testified on COVID-19 relief needs before a Senate panel, urging Congress to approve another round of targeted aid for American households and businesses. Mnuchin recommended tapping into $455 billion of unused emergency relief funds.

During the hearing, he also defended his decision to close down a number of emergency Federal Reserve loan programs when the country is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases. Mnuchin said the programs he decided not to extend were being lightly utilized, and that the money could be better put elsewhere.

bipartisan group of lawmakers pressured congressional leaders Tuesday to accept a compromise to end the impasse before Congress adjourns for the holidays.

The group including Senate centrists such as Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are pushing a $908 billion measure, including $228 billion to extend and upgrade “paycheck protection” subsidies for a second round of relief for hard-hit businesses like restaurants.

It would revive a special jobless benefit, but at a reduced level of $300 per week, half the amount enacted in March. State and local governments would receive $160 billion, and there is also money for vaccines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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