Mnuchin agrees to Democratic demands on coronavirus testing plan

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he would give in to Democratic demands relating to coronavirus testing in a pandemic relief package, a small step toward a deal.

“When I speak to Pelosi today, I’m going to tell her that we’re not going to let the testing issue stand in the way,” Mnuchin said on CNBC’s Squawk Box Thursday morning.

“We’ll fundamentally agree with their testing language, subject to minor issues. This issue is being overblown,” Mnuchin added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the Trump administration’s language regarding a national plan for coronavirus testing, tracing, treatment, and vaccine distribution is “grossly inadequate.”

Mnuchin said Wednesday that it is highly unlikely that a coronavirus relief package will be agreed upon before the election due to the gulf between both parties.

Besides the language about coronavirus testing, there is significant disagreement between the two sides on state and local aid and liability protections for businesses.

President Trump indicated Thursday he’s willing to spend even more than the $1.8 trillion stimulus package that the White House has proposed in order to reach an agreement with Democrats but said Mnuchin hasn’t finalized a deal yet.

“We like stimulus; we want stimulus; we think we should have stimulus,” Trump said on Fox Business on Thursday morning. He added that Mnuchin “has not come home with the bacon.”

Trump, when asked Thursday why Republicans would not accept Pelosi’s offer of a $2.2 trillion relief package, said, “She wants money for things you could, your pride couldn’t let it happen.”

Trump appeared to be referring to Democrat’s $3.4 trillion HEROES bill, which Republicans have argued contains “wish-list items” unrelated to the pandemic.

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