Mnuchin says Congress is ‘very close’ to a stimulus agreement and must get it done ‘today’

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Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2020.

Adam Galica | CNBC

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday that Democrats and Republicans are nearly in agreement on a massive congressional stimulus package to combat the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.

“I think we’re very close. We need to get this deal done today,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “It is very important as you can see, Jim. We announced overnight with the Fed some very important actions supporting the asset-backed market, supporting the corporate bond market – primary and secondary.”

“We’re using some of the funds we have, but we need Congress to approve additional funds today so that we can move forward and support American workers and the American economy,” he added.

Congressional leaders are hashing out the final details of a massive, trillion-dollar stimulus package designed to relieve American workers and businesses that are struggling amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stock futures at first slumped in overnight trading after the fiscal stimulus bill failed a key procedural Senate vote Sunday before bouncing back after the Federal Reserve’s additional easing measures.

The chamber’s Democrats warned the measure did not do enough to help impacted workers and instead offered too much for company bailouts. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had signaled she was not on board with the Republican version of the stimulus plan, saying: “From my standpoint, we’re apart.” 

But the tone on Capitol Hill wasn’t totally negative after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said disagreements over the bill could be overcome in the next 24 hours. A spokesman for Schumer later added the senator and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a “productive meeting.”

Senate Republicans last week rolled out a roughly $1 trillion proposal after working closely with the administration in a bid to slow the potentially catastrophic impact of the coronavirus on the economy. As on Monday, more than 35,000 have tested positive for the illness in the United States.

— CNBC’s Leslie Josephs and Lauren Hirsch contributed reporting.

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