Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday defended Senate Republicans for their delay in crafting a new coronavirus stimulus package, while pushing back House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accusation that the Trump administration do not try to end the pandemic.
In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Mnuchin explained that Republicans wanted to take a look at how the money already spent in previous packages was used before paying more money.
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“We have authorized over $ 3 trillion in the US economy,” Mnuchin said. “It has never been done in the history of time. ”
Mnuchin explained that precautions were needed in order to properly account for competing interests to help the American public now and to protect them from inflated debt in the future.
“We wanted to wait and see how the money is going to work, and we have to balance,” he said. “It is obviously necessary to support the workers, to support the economy, people who, through no fault of their own, are closed because of this terrible disease. On the other hand, we have to be careful not to accumulate huge debts for the future. So the president is determined to spend what we have to spend, and we are moving very quickly now. ”
Mnuchin also addressed the issue of enhanced unemployment benefits, which expired at the end of July. Democrats want the next package to continue the weekly payments of $ 600, but Republicans are concerned that in some cases this will cause people to raise more money than they earn from their jobs, causing them discourages returning to work when possible. The Republican HEALS Act – which carries a price tag of $ 1 trillion versus $ 3 trillion for the Democratic HEROES Act – provides for $ 200 per week.
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In the meantime, Republicans have offered to pursue payments of $ 600 for another week while lawmakers negotiate, but Democrats, who introduced their bill to the House in May, rejected it.
Mnuchin noted that President Trump was “very concerned” about the expiration of unemployment benefits and said he himself was “surprised” by the Democrats’ refusal.
“They insist that this be part of a larger agreement,” Mnuchin said.
Previously, the secretary had rejected Pelosi’s suggestion that the administration did not want to end COVID-19.
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“Well let me first of all say that I was surprised that the President said that we do not agree on the need to kill the virus, we absolutely agree to kill the virus” , did he declare. Mnuchin cited the ban on travel to the United States from China, as well as government support for several potential vaccines.
“We have actively funded the production of more than seven different vaccines, we are very optimistic about the results obtained from these vaccines and we will have a vaccine available by the end of the year. So we totally agree on the need to kill this. ”