Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Republican senators Tuesday morning that their inaction in the coronavirus stimulus bill could drive up US unemployment to 20%, CNN reported Wednesday.
Mnuchin urged Republican senators to act on economic stimulus measures totaling $1 trillion designed to avert that kind of worst-case scenario.
A Treasury Department official added that Mnuchin “used some mathematical examples to illustrate potential risk if there were no intervention, but because they are doing the right things and proposing additional action, that would not be the case.”
In the same meeting, Mnuchin also said he is concerned the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis, according to the report.
Mnuchin’s comments, first reported by Bloomberg News, come amid a rising sense of urgency at the White House and on Capitol Hill to confront the increasingly serious threat of the coronavirus pandemic — on both the public health and economic fronts.
A 20% unemployment rate would leave more than 32 million Americans out of a job based on the current US labor force, making it the highest in the US since the Great Depression.