Mnuchin to pitch Senate GOP on third coronavirus package Tuesday

Mnuchin to pitch Senate GOP on third coronavirus package Tuesday
© Bonnie Cash

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMajor Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report MORE will outline a third coronavirus financial aid package to Senate Republicans on Tuesday as lawmakers begin to home in on what additional legislation will look like.

"We'll be looking for support for small- and medium-sized businesses. We'll be looking for support for certain industries that we've talked about that are particularly hard hit. I've talked about airlines, hotels, others. And we will be looking at a general stimulus," Mnuchin told reporters after a meeting with some GOP senators on Monday night.

In addition to policy proposals, Mnuchin is expected to present Republicans during the closed-door policy lunch with a general price tag for the third legislative package.

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"I'm not going to comment on the specific numbers right now. I'll be talking to Republicans at lunch tomorrow, but it's a big number," Mnuchin said.

Mnuchin, White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE and White House director of legislative affairs Eric Ueland huddled with Senate Republicans on Monday night to discuss the House-passed coronavirus package as well as ideas for additional legislation.

Ueland, speaking with reporters after the Monday meeting, said Mnuchin would detail "specific" policy ideas during Tuesday's lunch.

"The president has instructed his team to look very expansively at what we need to do and not be impeded by the potential price tag," Ueland said.

Asked what Mnuchin would be talking about during the Tuesday lunch, Ueland said there would be "a discussion about next steps and the next phase."

It's unclear how quickly Congress would be ready to move a third legislative package. The House is currently at the start of a one-week recess, and Democratic leadership isn't expected to bring members back to Washington until a deal is reached.

Ueland said the administration has a "real focus on urgent action" and wouldn't rule out putting together a third package by the end of the week.

"There is a need for speed. ... I'm hopeful that there could be swift consideaton of consensus ideas," he said.

Congress is under growing pressure to take action to shore up the economy amid growing concerns about a widespread coronavirus outbreak within the United States.

Congress already passed an $8.3 billion bill earlier this month. The House has passed a second package, which could pass the Senate as soon as Tuesday.

But amid signs of a potential economic downturn — the Dow dropped nearly 3,000 points on Monday — leadership in both chambers is already throwing out ideas for a third legislative package.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocratic frustration with Sinema rises Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race Guns Down America's leader says Biden 'has simply not done enough' on gun control MORE (D-N.Y.) is expected to unveil at least $750 billion in spending as soon as Tuesday. Ueland declined to comment on the spending level.

Schumer's proposal would put money "directly into hands of American people" and include funding for a laundry list of issues, including bolstering hospital capacity, providing help for small businesses and delaying payments on federal loans.

“We will need big, bold, urgent federal action to deal with this crisis. The kinds of targeted measures we are putting together will mainline money into the economy and directly into the hands of families that need it most," Schumer said in a statement.

Senate Republicans are also discussing "next steps" in terms of legislation and held a conference call over the weekend.

"Senate Republicans are absolutely convinced that the House’s bill can only be the beginning of Congress’s efforts to secure our economy and support American families," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) said from the Senate floor on Monday.

Republicans discussed ideas for third and fourth phases during Monday night's meeting, according to Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIn Montana, a knock-down redistricting fight over a single line Trump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature The Memo: Conservatives change their tune on big government MORE (R-Utah).

"Secretary Mnuchin is doing a very good job looking at phase two, phase three and phase four," Romney told reporters as he left Monday night's meeting.

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Phase three, according to Romney, would focus on small businesses and impacted workers, while phase four would focus on impacted industries such as the airlines.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonA pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Sen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-Wis.) added that Republicans and the administration officials are talking about "next steps."

"There are just more things that need to be done," Johnson said when asked about the third and fourth phases.