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Washington CNN  — 

Amid an impasse over a new stimulus package to address fallout from the pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers on Tuesday that he believes “a bipartisan agreement still should be reached” to deliver further aid in testimony before the House subcommittee investigating the federal response to the coronavirus crisis.

“We will continue to work with the Senate and House on a bipartisan basis for a phase four relief package. I believe a bipartisan agreement still should be reached,” Mnuchin said during a hearing of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, adding that he hopes such an agreement would provide funding for schools, testing, vaccines, child care and other key priorities.

Talks for a new stimulus broke down on Capitol Hill in early August, with Democrats and Trump administration officials walking away amid partisan finger-pointing. Mnuchin has served as a lead negotiator for the administration in the talks.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat and the chairman of the select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, opened the hearing with a plea for further relief, saying that “additional fiscal stimulus is urgently needed,” and that he hopes Mnuchin “will return to the negotiating table prepared to find common cause” on legislation.

Mnuchin said during the hearing that he is “prepared to sit down with the speaker at any time to negotiate,” adding, “the President and I do support additional fiscal response and we’ve been working hard to try to get a negotiated agreement on a bipartisan basis.”

The Treasury secretary later indicated that he would call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday in response to questioning from Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, saying, “Can I tell her you suggested I call her right after the hearing? Done, I will call her right after the hearing.”

Pelosi later said she’d had a phone call with Mnuchin on Tuesday afternoon, and she expressed concerns about the secretary “saying, ‘Let’s do a little now and a little later,’ ” arguing that economists demand more now.

“Sadly, this phone call made clear that Democrats and the White House continue to have serious differences understanding the gravity of the situation that America’s working families are facing,” the California Democrat said in a statement.

Little progress toward any kind of a bipartisan stimulus deal has been made since talks broke down. A call between Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows last week did nothing to break the ongoing impasse over negotiations for a new stimulus, leaving talks stalled as the pandemic continues to take a dire toll on public health and the economy.

Pelosi, in the call with Meadows, did offer to drop the Democratic demand on the topline to $2.2 trillion, from $2.4 trillion. But she made clear to reporters that Democrats are unwilling to go lower, even as that leaves the two sides roughly $1 trillion apart on the topline. Senate Republicans unveiled a roughly $1 trillion stimulus proposal at the end of July, which marked their opening bid in negotiations.

Mnuchin indicated during Tuesday’s hearing that he does not support the overarching price tag that Democrats are asking for, saying at one point, “I do not support $2.2 trillion.”

“Unfortunately, Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi do not want to sit down at the negotiating table unless we publicly agree on a top line. My own opinion is we should go piece by piece and any area of the legislation we can agree on, we should have the House and the Senate pass,” Mnuchin said.

Democratic leaders have argued that any additional stimulus must be dealt with through a comprehensive package, and not on a piecemeal basis.

During Tuesday’s hearing, however, Mnuchin said that he believes stand-alone action related to the Paycheck Protection Program would receive “overwhelming support” on Capitol Hill.

“We have over $130 billion left in PPP, which I believe if Congress was willing to take up a stand-alone action to repurpose this money for additional funds, I believe this would pass with overwhelming support in the House and the Senate and I would encourage the House to move forward with that,” he said.

“As it relates to jobs, the area that has overwhelming bipartisan support that I believe would be easiest to pass on a stand-alone basis would be the PPP,” Mnuchin added.

“Let’s not get caught on a number. Let’s agree on things we can move forward on a bipartisan basis now. I don’t think the right outcome is zero. Nobody thinks the right outcome is zero,” Mnuchin said later on.

During the hearing, Clyburn was critical of the Trump’s administration’s handling of the pandemic response, saying that Treasury Department “must improve its implementation of relief programs passed by Congress.”

“So far, the administration has prioritized big businesses over small businesses and the American workers that Congress intended to protect,” Clyburn said, adding, “The administration needs to refocus the Paycheck Protection Program, payroll support for the airline industry, and other relief programs to ensure that they are preserving jobs – not lining the pockets of wealthy executives.”

The chairman argued that the Treasury Department also needs to “improve oversight and accountability to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are not squandered.”

Clyburn said that the panel is releasing a staff report, which raises “serious concerns about potential waste, fraud, and abuse in the Paycheck Protection Program,” a program established under the CARES Act coronavirus relief legislation intended to bolster small businesses hard hit by the pandemic.

Mnuchin broadly defended the Treasury Department’s efforts to mitigate the toll of the pandemic, saying, “For the last five months, Treasury has been working hard to provide fast and direct economic assistance to American workers and their families. We remain committed to making sure that every American gets back to work as quickly as possible.”

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio defended the federal response to the crisis, saying, “What you have put in place, the programs you have recommended, the programs that the Congress approved – they have worked.”

“Democrats keep their states locked down, then they complain about unemployment,” Jordan said, adding “Here’s a novel idea, let people go back to work and I bet you’ll get a lot less of it, you’ll get stronger economic growth that will build on what we have seen in the last three months.”

The hearing was conducted as a hybrid of in-person and remote participation, with Mnuchin and Clyburn appearing in person.

After the breakdown in talks over a new stimulus package, President Donald Trump attempted to bypass Congress to deliver aid to Americans by taking executive action. But some of those programs aren’t working as quickly as Trump promised.

For example, the boost to unemployment benefit signed by Trump takes effect retroactively to August 1, but many jobless aren’t seeing the money yet. Plus, the funding is only expected to provide for four to five weeks of supplemental benefits.

The payroll tax measure Trump signed – set to take effect this week – does not actually reduce payroll taxes, but instead defers the due date for the portion paid by employees until next year. It’s not automatic. Employers can choose to continue withholding those taxes, and many businesses have suggested they will do so.

Mnuchin highlighted the actions taken by the President, saying, “When it became clear that previous negotiations were not moving forward, the President took executive action to provide critical relief to Americans through lost wage assistance and other important items.”

He noted, however, “While we continue to see signs of a strong economic recovery, we are sensitive to the fact there is more work to be done, and certain areas of the economy require additional relief.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

CNN’s Katie Lobosco, Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report.