Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says any bipartisan stimulus deal will include more $1,200 direct payments for Americans

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at a White House press conference.
  • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said any bipartisan stimulus agreement would include another round of $1,200 checks for Americans.
  • "We have reached an agreement that if there is a deal, there are direct payments similar to last time that are in the package," he said of talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • Millions of $1,200 federal checks were sent to individuals earlier this spring.
  • A stimulus deal would likely carry a price tag that's $1.5 trillion or above, and its unclear that Senate Republicans long resistant to spending would back a plan of that size.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday evening that any stimulus agreement will contain a second round of $1,200 direct payments to American taxpayers.

In an interview on Fox Business, Mnuchin reiterated the Trump administration's opposition to the $2.2 trillion economic aid plan that Democrats are pressing for and said they prioritized getting people back to work instead. 

But the Treasury secretary said an agreement was struck with Speaker Nancy Pelosi that an economic relief package will include federal checks for individuals.

"We have reached an agreement that if there is a deal, there are direct payments similar to last time that are in the package," he said.

Mnuchin also said the White House was seeking to provide more federal aid to small businesses, schools, and additional funds to coronavirus testing and tracing as well.

"If there is a fair compromise, we're prepared to do it," he said, adding, "there are a lot of areas where we have an agreement on."

Mnuchin's comments signal the White House may be inching towards an agreement with Democrats as both sides strive for common ground on new economic aid. On Wednesday, he met with Pelosi on Capitol Hill for the first time since talks collapsed in August. The pair have been negotiating for four days.

Read more: Stimulus talks press on as dealmakers push for another boost to unemployment payments. Here's everything you need to know about the rescue package.

Still, if a last-minute deal is reached between Democrats and the White House, it's unclear whether Republicans in the Senate would back a plan likely carrying a price tag that's $1.5 trillion or above.

Many GOP senators oppose government spending that increases the federal debt. Lawmakers have approved over $3 trillion in federal aid since the pandemic began devastating the economy in the spring.

A "skinny" relief plan from Republicans including only $300 billion in new spending sparked significant opposition within their party earlier this month. It omitted stimulus payments to shrink the cost of the package.

Democrats initially prepared a Wednesday evening House vote on their $2.2 trillion spending package. But they pushed it back until Thursday in hope of allowing more time for an agreement with the White House, CNN reported. It's unlikely the Democratic plan will become law given staunch GOP opposition.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tore into the Democratic plan on Wednesday, saying it was "outlandish" and the amount was "too high."

In March, Congress and Trump approved $1,200 stimulus checks for many American adults plus an additional $500 per child under the age of 17 through the CARES Act. Individuals qualified for a full payment when they earned below $75,000 a year. For married couples, the threshold was $150,000.

Trump has long backed sending another wave of direct payments.

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