Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday insisted that the $600-per-week unemployment insurance isn’t fair to taxpayers.
The expanded benefits are slated to end on July 31, although in some states, the benefits will end sooner or have already ended.
“It just wouldn’t be fair to use taxpayer dollars to pay more people to sit home than they would working and get a job,” the Treasury secretary told Fox News on Sunday.
Mnuchin also reiterated that the new unemployment benefits will be 70 percent of wage replacement.
The Republican proposal will be unveiled on Monday, July 27, Mnuchin also announced on the program. He also showed optimism about coming to a deal with Senate Republicans and Democrats.
“We can move very quickly with the Democrats on these issues. We’ve moved quickly before, and I see no reason why we can’t move quickly again,” he said.
GOP lawmakers and White House officials have said that the benefits have created a disincentive for people to return back to work. House Democrats passed the HEROES Act in May, which would extend the extra payments until January 2021.
Mnuchin, meanwhile, said that Democrats also opposed a payroll tax that was proposed by President Donald Trump, saying “it was very clear the Democrats were not going to give us a payroll tax cut.”
But Mnuchin also noted that direct stimulus payments have more impact.
“The direct payments are a much quicker way of effectively giving everyone a tax cut—much quicker than the payroll tax cut,” he said before adding that “June retail sales were 1 percent higher than June of last year, so all that money we pumped into the economy, it worked, people went out and spent.”
The direct payments and expanded unemployment insurance were included in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was passed in late March to offset potential losses incurred by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. Other than the unemployment expansion, other parts of the CARES act such as the Paycheck Protection Program that provides small businesses with loans is slated to end in early August while a federal eviction ban already ended July 25.
Last week, the White House team downplayed the differences with the GOP senators over some provisions of the bill.
“The president has been very clear. He wants to make sure that the American people have what they need during this unprecedented time,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, “to make sure not only the money is there but the programs.”