- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2020

President Trump met with Republican congressional leaders at the White House on Monday about the next round of coronavirus relief, with Republicans saying they want to stop paying high unemployment benefits that serve as a disincentive for people returning to work.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said the administration is proposing tax credits that “incentivize businesses to bring people back to work,” and offering tax credits for companies to provide personal protective equipment to create a safe work environment.

“We want to make sure that we don’t pay people more money to stay home than go to work,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

House Democrats have approved a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that would extend federal unemployment benefits of $600 per week through the rest of the year. Many Republicans say it’s preventing people from going back to work because they’re receiving more in benefits than they did in wages.

The unemployment benefits would expire at the end of this month.

Mr. Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will meet with Senate Republicans on Tuesday to discuss the outlines of legislation.The president said he’s eager to develop a plan “that helps small businesses, helps people, helps this country.”

“We’ve made a lot of progress, and the discussions are going on,” Mr. Trump said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated that the GOP is insisting on liability protection for businesses reopening during the pandemic.

“You don’t need an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic,” Mr. McConnell said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the GOP opposes spending money that creates a disincentive to work.

Mr. Trump told reporters that a payroll tax cut is “very important” to include in the legislation.

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