Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin says Republicans are ready to introduce the next COVID-19 aid package on Monday
Mnuchin told reporters in the Capitol that increasing expiring unemployment benefits – but significantly reducing them – is a top priority for Trump. The secretary called the $ 600 weekly allowance “ridiculous” and discouraging people from returning to work. He also promised that a new round of $ 1,200 incentive checks would come in August.
“We’re ready to move fast,” Mnuchin said after he and Mark Meadows, the president’s acting chief, spent several hours with GOP staff at the Capitol. He said the president would “absolutely” support the emerging Republican package.
Mnuchin’s optimistic assessment came before Democrats gave public opinion on the updated proposal, which remained only a starting point in talks with the leaders of the House and Senate in the other party. He said he had recently called Parliament Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of talks on shuttles next week on the broader deal.
The White House and Senate Republicans were vying to regroup after plans to introduce a $ 1 trillion virus rescue bill collapsed on Thursday amid a fight against the GOP over its size, scope and details. It was expected to bring in $ 105 billion to help schools reopen, new money for virus testing and business benefits, including a new round of loans, tax breaks and an extensive defense response from COVID-related lawsuits.
As Republicans fought, the White House team downplayed differences with GP senators as overworked and said Trump was focused on providing aid.
“The president was very clear. He wants to ensure that the American people have what they need at this unprecedented time, Meadows said, to make sure not only the money is there, but the programs. “
The expiration of the $ 600 $ 600 increase in unemployment benefits prompted Republicans to act. Democrats have already approved their $ 3 trillion consideration plan from Pelosi two months ago. But with millions of Americans suddenly cut off from aid Saturday, they have tried to prevent social and economic failures.
The White House floats plans to cut the additional aid back to $ 100 a week, while Republicans in the Senate prefer $ 200, agreeing to phase out the flat incentive in favor of one that provides no more than 70 percent of the employee’s previous pay.
Mnuchin also said that direct payments of $ 1,200 would be based on the same formula from the previous aid bill. People who earn $ 75,000 or less, for example, receive the full amount, and those who make more than $ 75,000 receive less than $ 1,200, depending on their income. People who earn more than $ 100,000 are not eligible for payment.
“We will take out most of them in August and they will help people,” Mnuchin said.
Administration officials said the total package remains $ 1 trillion, apparently on par with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s original draft.
Democrats had warned that time was running out, saying Republicans were in disarray.
Unemployment benefits officially expire on July 31, but due to the way states process unemployment benefits, the cuts were effective on Saturday. Other aid, including a federal moratorium on the eviction of millions of rented units, also expires at the end of the month.
The PP’s plan was not expected to vote, but to serve as a counter-proposal for the Democrats. This strategy enabled McConnell, who did not have the full support of his GOP majority, to avoid having to fail. But it also gave Democrats some effect in insisting on their priorities as part of any final deal.
The road ahead remained uncertain, but both sides struggled to reach a deal.
McConnell, who spent time over the weekend in his home state of Kentucky, said on Friday that he hoped the package would be agreed “in the next few weeks.”