Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Republicans have finalized the latest stimulus bill. The newest plan adds up to about $1 trillion. Mnuchin also said they plan to introduce it today.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Mnuchin said, “We do have an entire plan. The [Trump] administration and the Senate Republicans are completely on the same page,” after delays prevented the plan from being completed last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the White House wanted more time to “review the fine details.”
Many expect the proposal to include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans. It will also include liability protections for businesses and funding for schools as they reopen. Mnuchin said he hoped the proposal could gain bipartisan support in Congress.
“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. And if there are issues that take longer, we’ll deal with those as well,” Mnuchin said.
On Unemployment Benefits
A sticking point with the Democrats could be the reduction in unemployment benefits. Many Republicans believe that the $600 weekly benefit is slowing the U.S. economic recovery since so many workers are making more money on unemployment insurance than they did on the job.
Instead of a $600 per week benefit, Republicans want the newest plan to include unemployment assistance that will replace roughly 70% of wages.
Mnuchin added that certain pieces of the legislation are a higher priority than other issues. These pieces include the likes of unemployment benefits and liability protection for businesses and schools. He said they can pass the legislation in parts and pieces to quicken the negotiating process.
“This will be the fifth set of legislation so there’s no reason why we can’t have number five, six and seven as we need to deal with issues,” he said. “And obviously, anything we do we need bipartisan support.”
The White House Reacts
White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow described the proposal as “a very well rounded package” and “a very well targeted package.”
“There’s a $1,200 check coming, that’s going to be part of the new package,” Kudlow said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that the package will also include $16 billion in additional funding for testing and tax incentives to encourage companies to rehire employees.
“The check is there, the reemployment bonus is there. The retention bonus is there. There will be breaks, tax credits for small businesses and restaurants.” Kudlow added.
He also said the Trump administration is expected to lengthen the federal eviction moratorium. The moratorium prevented renters in buildings with mortgages backed by the government from being evicted.
Kudlow also added that the administration’s plan to cap unemployment benefits at approximately 70% of wages is “quite generous by any standard.” As recently as last week Republicans were considering the idea of extending the unemployment benefit but reducing it to $400 per month, or $100 a week, through the rest of the year.