News   /   Economy

Mnuchin defends decision to de-fund COVID-19 relief programs

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo taken on September 23, 2020 shows US Secretary of Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin during the Senate's Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing examining the quarterly CARES Act report to Congress in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has defended his decision to de-fund several coronavirus relief programs even as cases surge and businesses close again across the United States.

On Friday, Mnuchin claimed his decision to de-fund the programs on December 31 was not meant to hamstring the next administration’s efforts to revive the economy.

“We’re not trying to hinder anything,” he said.

Joe Biden is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential race, whose results have been disputed by President Donald Trump.

A set of Federal Reserve lending programs, which were established early this year to contain the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, were cancelled by the Treasury.

Mnuchin told CNBC that the Treasury could quickly recapitalize the Federal Reserve programs, if needed.

He said the Federal Reserve could use its "bazooka" to refund the programs when it wanted.

“To the extent these need to be reactivated, we have over $800bn of capacity, so I consider that to be a pretty good bazooka,” Mnuchin said.

The Federal Reserve has publicly announced its opposition to Mnuchin’s decision to curtail the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs in a rare departure from the central bank’s almost invariable policy of publicly maintaining a united front with the Treasury.

"The programs should end when they are no longer needed, and I don’t think that time is yet or very soon,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said.



Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku