WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump Administration supports extending federal enhanced unemployment benefits until the end of this year, though at a reduced level, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.
Lawmakers have been deep in negotiations over the next federal COVID-19 aid package. The $600 a week unemployment benefit on top of state unemployment benefits that has been critical to families across the U.S. expires at the end of this month.
Mnuchin said he and Democrats agree that unemployment aid needs to be extended through the rest of the year. Republicans have looked at an extension of unemployment benefits that replaces 70 percent of wages, though Mnuchin and Republicans agree “that people don’t get paid more money to stay home than to work.”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows suggested that a deal on a standalone bill on unemployment benefits could be reached before the July 31 deadline.
A Republican coronavirus relief legislation will be made public on Monday and Mnuchin is optimistic the two parties can move quickly to hammer out differences. Mnuchin said those enhanced unemployment benefits and liability protections from coronavirus-related lawsuits were top issues for lawmakers.
“We can move very quickly with the Democrats on these issues,” Mnuchin told Fox News on Sunday. “We’ve moved quickly before, and I see no reason why we can’t move quickly again.”