- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 2, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Sunday that “there’s no question” that some Americans have been paid more money to stay home than to work as the stalemate on the novel coronavirus relief package entered another week.

Mr. Mnuchin said both sides agree on providing enhanced unemployment, but “we want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid, and we want to make sure there’s the right incentives.”

“There’s no question in certain cases where we’re paying people more to stay home than to work, that’s created issues in the entire economy,” said Mr. Mnuchin on ABC’s “This Week.”

He once again urged Democrats to agree to a one-week extension of benefits, which expired Friday, adding that he and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had made several different offers on enhanced unemployment.

“The president is very concerned about the expiration of the unemployment insurance,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “We proposed a one-week extension of the $600, and I’m surprised that the Democrats won’t agree to that. They are insistent on having this as part of a larger deal.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued to insist that the extension of benefits should be part of the massive $3 trillion HEROES Act passed by the House, which includes another round of stimulus checks as well as financial relief to states and local governments.

She blasted a Senate GOP proposal to reduce the weekly benefit to $200, and also disputed the idea that some people receiving the $600 weekly unemployment checks are opting to remain out of work rather than take jobs at which they earn less than that.

“Oh, they say, oh, people are staying home—the data doesn’t support that,” said Ms. Pelosi. “Yes, they might anecdotally have examples, but the fact is that they’re subjecting somebody who gets $600 to scrutiny they won’t subject some of the people that are getting millions of dollars in the PPP [Paycheck Protection Program].”

Asked when a deal would be reached, she said, “Well the fact is, is it will be close to an agreement when we have an agreement.”

The two sides met Saturday to negotiate over resuming the now-expired emergency unemployment benefits to 30 million out-of-work Americans, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described as “the best discussion we’ve had so far.”

“The issue is, we need to come up with an agreement to extend this,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “We need to get kids into school. And we’re going to work every day until we reach a reasonable agreement that’s good for the American public.”

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