“We want to make sure that the people that are out there that can’t find jobs do get a reasonable wage replacement,” Mnuchin said, outlining more details of the Republican stimulus plan amid months of high unemployment rates in the midst of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. “It will be based on approximately 70 percent wage replacement,” he said in an interview.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, President Donald Trump suggested a similar wage replacement rate. Currently, federal unemployment benefits provide $600 per week under the CARES Act passed in March.
More than 1.4 million workers filed new unemployment claims in the past week, said the Department of Labor on Thursday, placing new pressure on the GOP and Democrats to reach a consensus.
Democrats favor extending the federal unemployment benefits through January of 2021 and have included that measure in the HEROES Act, which was passed in the House in May. GOP members of Congress have criticized the bill as one that contains too many unnecessary provisions and said its $3 trillion price tag is too costly.
Mnuchin also said that the White House may abandon its push for a payroll tax cut.
“One of the issues with the payroll tax cut is that people get that money over time,” Mnuchin said in the interview. “So the president’s preference is to make sure we send out direct payments quickly so that in August people get more money.”
Mnuchin noted that the direct payments will stimulate the re-opening of the United States economy even further.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to unveil the GOP’s proposal on Thursday which will likely include stimulus checks.
It came after White House chief of staff Meadows and Mnuchin met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week.
The must-have provision of the for Republicans is a liability shield to protect businesses, schools, and others from coronavirus-related lawsuits, they have said.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told The Associated Press that there will be another extension for small business lending in the Paycheck Protection Program. “It’s going to be big,” he said.