Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has taken on one of the most prominent roles in the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.
Mnuchin has been negotiating with both House Democratic leadership an Senate Republicans to get a massive relief package through Congress aimed at blunting the economic impact of the coronavirus.
It’s not unusual for a Treasury Secretary to take a major role in an administration’s response to a financial crisis, veterans of the Obama administration say.
But “it is striking that the White House is not more involved alongside the Treasury Department,” one Obama veteran said.
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Out of the small army of top officials that the Trump Administration has thrust into the spotlight to address the coronavirus crisis, one in particular has gotten top billing: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
It was Mnuchin who exchanged ten phone calls with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday to hammer out the details of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It was Mnuchin who was cloistered with Senate Republicans this week as they come up with their own response to the Democrats’ legislation. And it was Mnuchin who announced a series of economic interventions that the White House was seeking at a coronavirus press conference with President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
From negotiating directly with Congress to picking up the call for the government to send at least $1,000 to every American, the treasury secretary always seems to be in the room where it happens.
Mnuchin’s prominent role mostly makes a lot of sense
“I think it’s not too surprising that Treasury is playing a prominent role,” said Karen Dynan, who served as Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist the Treasury Department from 2014-2017.
“The Treasury Department views itself as the central steward of the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system,” Dynan told Insider. “In the past, when we’ve seen period where the economy is at great peril like it is right now, the Treasury Department has stepped in and played a central role shaping policy response.”
However, Dynan said “it is striking that the White House is not more involved alongside the Treasury Department” in announcing its economic policy proposals to address the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, it was the Treasury Department that began circulating a memo outlining the White House’s goals for a deal on coronavirus relief, the Washington Post reported, that included a $50 billion bailout for the airline industry …read more
Source:: Business Insider