United States President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans in the Senate are set to unveil a $1 trillion US coronavirus relief bill on Monday that includes reduced federal unemployment benefits, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying he believes they can work with Democrats to move quickly on the legislation.
Senate Republicans and White House officials are scrambling to hammer out an agreement on the proposal, which hit snags after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had announced plans to introduce the measure last week.
With enhanced federal unemployment benefits due to expire on Friday, Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows made weekend visits to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican Senate leaders on the legislation.
“The bill will be introduced Monday and we’re prepared to act quickly. 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,” Mnuchin told the Fox News Sunday programme.
The most pressing issues are the soon-to-expire enhanced unemployment benefits – currently $600 a week – and liability protections from coronavirus-related lawsuits, Mnuchin said.
Meadows, a former Republican member of the House of Representatives, said he and Mnuchin would be back at the Capitol on Sunday “putting the final touches” on the bill.
“Honestly I see us being able to provide unemployment insurance, maybe a retention credit to keep people from being displaced,” Meadows told ABC.
Democrats control the House and the Republicans control the Senate.