Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday most, if not all, of the U.S. economy should be reopened by later in the summer after a devastating shutdown to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
"We're looking forward to by the time we get later in the summer having most of the economy if not all of the economy open," Mnuchin told Fox Business Network.
Mnuchin suggested that after President Donald Trump signs the newr $484 billion funding measure into law, the economy will have all the rescue funds it needs to cope with the pandemic-induced shutdown.
House lawmakers were set later Thursday to pass the funding measure to add to the $2.2 trillion virus relief package signed into law less than four weeks ago.
Mnuchin said that the funds are not economic stimulus, but rescue money.
By the end, small businesses will have had access to more than $600 billion in federal assistance through the Small Business Administration and emergency disaster loans.
“I hope it is enough,” Mnuchin said .Part of the rescue funds provided to the Treasury Department can be leveraged through Federal Reserve lending facilities for as much as $6 trillion in liquidity.
Mnuchin and congressional leaders also expect to turn to a next-stage financial package that would act as an economic stimulus, including possible funding for state and local governments as well as infrastructure spending, which already has been part of Trump’s economic agenda.
The U.S. budget deficit is seen quadrupling this year to almost $4 trillion, an amount that doesn’t include the legislation pending in Congress.
“We need to spend what it takes to win the war,” Mnuchin said, adding that interest rates on the additional debt will be relatively low. “On the other hand, we are sensitive to the economic impact of putting on debt and that’s something that the president is reviewing with us very carefully.”
This report contains material from Reuters and Bloomberg News.
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