Washington: US Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump’s administration have reached an agreement in principle on the next COVID-19 relief package, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said.
McConnell said on Thursday Senate Republicans will release their proposal, which will focus on children, jobs and healthcare, next week as the administration has requested additional time to review the fine details, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We need to get Americans back to work and school while continuing to fight for our nation’s health. That is what CARES 2 is designed to do,” he said.
Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, or the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, in March to provide fiscal aid for households, businesses and healthcare providers. Still, some key provisions in the Act are set to expire at the end of this month.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that the administration will not extend the extra weekly $600 unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, but will replace it with a roughly 70 per cent match of a worker’s wages before they were laid off.
“As we’ve said before, we’re not going to continue within its current form because we’re not going to pay people more money to stay at home than work, but we want to make sure that the people that are out there that can’t find jobs do get a reasonable wage replacement so that it will be based on approximately 70 per cent wage replacement”Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC.
He also confirmed that the payroll tax cut, which Trump has repeatedly pushed for, will not be included in the relief package.
“The Democrats have stated strongly that they won’t approve a Payroll Tax Cut (too bad!). It would be great for workers. The Republicans, therefore, didn’t want to ask for it.
“Dems, as usual, are hurting the working men and women of our country,” Trump tweeted on Thursday.
US lawmakers are under immense pressure to craft a new fiscal package as a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country threatens to derail the nascent economic recovery.
As of Friday morning, the coronavirus cases in the country reached 4,034,831, and the national death toll rose to 144,242, both tallies account for the highest in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University.