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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBiden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Sunday shows preview: White House, Democratic leaders struggle for deal on coronavirus bill 'Progress' but no deal as coronavirus talks head into next week MORE on Sunday threw cold water on the prospect of extending $600 unemployment benefits for Americans for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with ABC's "This Week," Mnuchin suggested that the payments, which expired last week, led to some out-of-work Americans being "overpaid" and indicated that he believed they were slowing the return of workers to the labor market.

"Unemployment is supposed to be wage replacement, so it should be tied to some percentage of wages," he said. "The fact that we had a flat number was only an issue of an emergency where we had 30-year-old computer systems."

"I think, on the concept we absolutely agree on enhanced unemployment," Mnuchin continued. "We want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid, and we want to make sure there's the right incentive [to get back to work.]"

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin tells @MarthaRaddatz “there’s no question” that $600 unemployment insurance is a disincentive to find a job in “some cases.”

“There are cases where people are overpaid,” he adds when pressed about study refuting his argument.

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 2, 2020

Democrats rejected a short-term stimulus deal from the Treasury secretary and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsBiden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Sunday shows preview: White House, Democratic leaders struggle for deal on coronavirus bill 'Progress' but no deal as coronavirus talks head into next week MORE last Thursday. The exact provisions of that package were not made public, but included a temporary extension of unemployment benefits, according to Meadows.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nomination to be held in private: report Graham defends Trump on TikTok, backs Microsoft purchase Federal appeals court rejects Stormy Daniels libel case against Trump MORE and other white House officials have urged Democrats to agree to a short-term stimulus deal while Senate Republicans debate over the specifics of a longer-term package. Federal unemployment insurance payments totaling $600 weekly expired on Friday, with no extension for the benefits in site as millions of Americans face rent payments on Aug. 1.

Tags Steven Mnuchin Donald Trump Mark Meadows Unemployment insurance COVID-19 Coronavirus Sunday shows

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Unemployment Benefits to Expire for 12M Day After Christmas

About 12 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas unless Congress passes a new coronavirus relief package, leaving them with no income, according to a new study by the nonprofit think tank The Century Foundation.

"This cutoff threatens to pull the rug out from under an economy that has already seen millions of workers lose their state unemployment benefits this fall," the study reported.

Though the past few months have seen a steady economic recovery, the economy is still about 10.1 million jobs short compared to before the pandemic, according to the report. And the pandemic is expected to continue hurting the economy.

As savings are depleted, families will face food insecurity and loss of their homes, while many will not be able to pay for healthcare, the report points out.

"While there are major political challenges to reaching a stimulus relief deal before the holidays, jobless workers cannot wait until January," the studys authors wrote. "The stakes are simply too high."

The two main programs that have been sustaining workers affected by the pandemic, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides jobless benefits to gig workers and others who normally are not eligible for benefits, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which extends state unemployment benefits an extra 13 weeks, both will end if the legislation fails to pass.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to pass the legislation in the house, tweeting Sunday:

"The day after Christmas, 12 million will lose unemployment benefits. On New Years Eve, eviction moratoriums, small business relief and more will expire. The House has acted, and is willing to compromise. So is Trump. So far, nothing but a lump of coal from Mitch McConnell."

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