Despite the fact many states are still seeing record levels of illness and instability in the wake of the pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is attempting to return millions of dollars in pandemic assistance funding to the Treasury's general fund.
If that happens, the money is no longer slated for pandemic relief and can (and will) be used for whatever the state's want. This could have devastating affects on people left without work, medical coverage (for millions of Americans healthcare is tied to a job) without enough food, etc....
Programs set up to help people pay bills will be shuttered.
As these programs were always meant to be temporary, returning the leftover money was already written into the plan—but it isn't slated to happen until 2026, a year when experts agree we should be mostly done with the aftermath of the pandemic.
During the House hearing on the matter, Democratic Representative Katie Porter of California brought up the already established timeline.
"I'm reading aloud now from Section 4027 of the Cares Act. 'On or after January 2026 any funds that are remaining shall be transferred to the general fund." In other words, set, sent back to the Treasury. Secretary Mnuchin, is it currently the year 2026, yes or no?"
You can watch the exchange here:
Rep. Katie Porter grills Sec. Mnuchin, saying he wants to ban the Fed from using any more of $450B Congress set asi… https://t.co/iQ6NaueBzT— The Recount (@The Recount) 1606928255.0
Mnuchin, who has a reputation for being "condescending and dismissive" initially refused to answer Porter's question, forcing a back and forth exchange where Porter had to, essentially, defend her right to ask questions he had to answer.
Eventually he relented, but made sure to call her question "ridiculous."
"Of course it's not 2026. It's ridiculous to ask me that question and waste our time."
Mnuchin trying to take these funds from the people is a subject Porter is passionate about. That passion came out in her sharp response.
Porter, who is a lawyer herself, retorted:
"Well, Secretary Mnuchin, I think it's ridiculous that you're play acting to be a lawyer."
That quip got so under Mnuchin's skin that he snipped back at Porter and then told her he would explain things to their male colleague instead. That attempt was unsuccessful.
Porter demonstrated that she was perfectly capable of understanding by laying into Mnuchin over what the Cares Act actually says. Porter pointed out Mnuchin's less-than-honest use of a particular section.
After reading that section aloud, Porter explained it and then told Mnuchin flat out:
"You are making a decision that does not align with the statute or congressional intent."
Twitter loved Porter's no-nonsense handling of Mnuchin.
@therecount When I see Katie Porter I miss Al Franken. they are street fighters, not like the Nadlers and Schumer's… https://t.co/y6Xrlo0Gbk— Chris O'Brien (@Chris O'Brien) 1606943095.0
@therecount A non lawyer sarcastically asking A Harvard grad if she’s a lawyer just goes to show that he had no clu… https://t.co/lrJkrhcEpt— pinky (@pinky) 1606946139.0
@therecount In a perfect world, all of the stupid people we meet in our daily lives, before spreading their stupidi… https://t.co/9lJKfYpgCj— Jerry Conner (@Jerry Conner) 1606928376.0
@therecount Desperate for her to be a Senator. https://t.co/JpvMcqD9wX— Rob (@Rob) 1606942506.0
@RWoodson20 @therecount Mnuchin works for himself and his fellow 1%ers. He has zero interest in serving the America… https://t.co/xbQmAUCxBT— Fortuna Mobilis 🏳️🌈 (@Fortuna Mobilis 🏳️🌈) 1606941643.0
@therecount He doesn’t even Know that she’s a Lawyer! The Ignorance of these entitled pricks is astonishing. Even… https://t.co/CvHwu18dfz— LaNati (@LaNati) 1606959075.0
@JoyousPanther @therecount She's intelligent & an excellent questioner/followup questioner...but her greatest stren… https://t.co/3PXRTLsZyL— Paladin 55 (@Paladin 55) 1606938575.0
@mtcatlady17 @therecount I think a mask would have been advisable to at least conceal that pitiful angry scowl as h… https://t.co/4C9ruB948o— Trumpkin the Blumpkin (@Trumpkin the Blumpkin) 1606935393.0
@therecount This is exactly how Congressional Democrats should be questioning Trump's corrupt cabinet heads. Stop… https://t.co/WWf6AFBpI4— Resa Harrison 🇺🇸 (@Resa Harrison 🇺🇸) 1606952335.0
Porter and her infamous whiteboard are everything Twitter loves right now. Steve Mnuchin, not so much.