A $1 trillion Republican version of a 4.0 COVID-19 stimulus bill is expected to be on Capitol Hill Monday (July 27).
“This is all about kids and jobs,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News Sunday. “This is our focus, and we want to make sure something gets passed quickly, so that we deal with the unemployment, and all the other issues like Paycheck Protection Plan, tax credits, rehire people and money for schools.”
Over the weekend, White House staff worked with Senate Republicans on technical issues in the package, Mnuchin told the network. He also said some of the more controversial issues that are unlikely to be agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans this week could be put off until a 5.0 or 6.0 stimulus is crafted at a later date.
“Within the trillion-dollar package, there are certain things that have a timeframe that are a bigger priority, so we could look at doing an entire deal, we could look at doing parts,” Mnuchin said.
The highest priority issues are expiring unemployment benefits and liability protection for businesses and schools.
“We can move very quickly with the Democrats on these issues,” the Treasury Secretary told Fox. “We've moved quickly before, and I see no reason that we can't move quickly again. And if there are issues that take longer, we'll deal with those as well.”
Instead of extending the soon-to-expire weekly federal unemployment benefit of $600 which the Democrats favor, GOP leaders have opposed its extension, arguing it’s a disincentive to work.
Instead, Mnuchin is lobbying for a federal unemployment benefit that pays people around 70 percent of their lost wages.
On Saturday, Mnuchin told reporters at Capitol Hill a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks would be sent to taxpayers in August.
Last week, PYMNTS reported there was a $2 trillion gap between the proposal by House Democrats and the plan being hammered out by Senate Republicans.