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Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin got into a heated exchange over COVID-19 relief funding during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Porter was questioning Mnuchin’s plan to claw back $455 billion in unspent stimulus package funding to the Treasury’s general fund. The move would make it harder for his successor to access the money.

Reading aloud a section from the stimulus measure, known as the CARES Act, Porter noted that remaining funds can be transferred back to the Treasury no sooner than Jan. 1, 2026.

“Secretary Mnuchin, is it currently the year 2026? Yes or no,” Porter asked.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/katie-porter-steve-mnuchin-co...
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You can watch it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVEo_q3JzGA

It looks like both Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Secretary Mnuchin were testifying before the committee.

What I found interesting is the attitudes of the two men. Porter wasn't taking it easy on either one, although she was a bit more pointed with Mnuchin. But Powell was reasonably respectful, while Mnuchin was pompous and arrogant.

And, based on the times we are living in, Powell chose to wear a mask and Mnuchin did not. They appear to be appropriately distanced from each other and others in the room. So masks might be considered optional. Still, it reflects a bit of the attitudes of the two men.

As is typical of Porter, she had no countenance for evasive answers, cutting them off pretty quickly, especially when Mnuchin tried to steer things in a different direction.

There are much better ways to disagree than being disagreeable. After a quick look at the Cares Act, Mnuchin may have a point. The 2026 date may be merely the last day by which any unspent funds need to be returned. I don't immediately see a reason they can't be returned sooner. But, as Ms. Porter noted in the hearing, I am not a lawyer.

In Mnuchin's shoes, I would have responded a bit more passive aggressively rather than going into full-on attack and disrespect. My response would be something like, "I'm sorry ma'am. I don't have a calendar with me to confirm the year. Perhaps you could check the calendar app on your phone to determine the current year. I would check mine, but it is customary to turn such devices off while testifying to Congress." Basically, acknowledge the point with some levity instead of being a jerk.

--Peter
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My response would be something like, "I'm sorry ma'am. I don't have a calendar with me to confirm the year.

Then she responds, "What year was the date of this hearing?"

And she nails his butt--and any other quips--to the floor with that response.
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Then she responds, "What year was the date of this hearing?"

Maybe. But I don't think Porter asks those kinds of questions (is it the year 2026?) if you're not being a jerk. She wasn't nailing Powell up to the wall, only Mnuchin. Powell was answering questions, Mnuchin was not.

Treat her with respect and she will do the same. Talk down to her, and she will also do the same.

--Peter
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They got into a discussion about who was a lawyer. Munchkin finally asked Katie Porter in a snarky tone if she is a lawyer. Clearly he or his staff didn't do their work on background. She never answered him but yes, she is a lawyer, a Harvard grad, Magna cum laud.
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