Steve Mnuchin.jpg

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

(The Center Square) – Senate Republicans will introduce a new $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package Monday that will include more proposed direct payments to Americans and enhanced federal unemployment benefits for workers who lose their jobs during coronavirus restrictions, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Sunday.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Mnuchin said the enhanced unemployment benefits won't be near the $600 a week provided through the CARES Act, which disincentivized some workers from returning to their jobs because they made more off unemployment.

"I think workers and Americans understand the concept that you shouldn't be paid more to stay home than to work," he said.

Instead, the Treasury secretary said, the Republican plan would offer workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic no more than 70 percent of their salaries in unemployment benefits. The enhanced CARES benefit expires this month.

On Saturday, Mnuchin said the direct payment to American workers would be similar to what was provided through the CARES Act: $1,200 for workers making $75,000 or less, with diminished payments to those making more than $75,000 and up to $100,000.

Mnuchin said Sunday that he was confident that Senate and House Republicans and Democrats could reach a deal soon.

“The bill will be introduced Monday and we’re prepared to act quickly," he said. "This is all about kids and jobs. 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.”

A new stimulus package is being negotiated after the Congressional Budget Office reported that June's federal budget deficit was $864 billion, an amount greater than the entire federal budget deficit for the year of 2018.

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

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