Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday suggested expired $600 unemployment payments led to some out-of-work Americans being "overpaid.”
In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Mnuchin indicated the first round of bumped-up payments slowed the return of workers to the labor market.
“There's no question in certain cases where we're paying people more to … stay home than to work,” he said. “That’s created issues in the entire economy.”
When pressed on a Yale study that found no evidence of the disincentive to work because of the payments, Mnuchin pushed back.
“There's a Chicago study that goes through all the people that are overpaid,” he claimed.
“We know factually, there are cases where people are overpaid, there are cases where people are underpaid. The issue is, we need to come up with an agreement to extend this. We need to get kids into school. And we're going to work every day until we reach a reasonable agreement that's good for the American public.”
Mnuchin said there are a number of bumps being discussed with leaders in Congress — and he said there should be an extension of the $600 payment until they come to an agreement.
“[White House chief of staff] Mark Meadows and I have made three or four different offers that deal with the enhanced unemployment,” he said. “I think as you said, [Rep.] Steny Hoyer [D-Md.] and others understand that unemployment is supposed to be wage replacement, so it should be tied to some percentage of wages.”
“I think on the concept, we absolutely agree on enhanced unemployment,” he added. “We want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid and we want to make sure there's the right incentives…. we put on a table a proposal. Let's extend it for one week at the same rate while we negotiate so we don't hurt the American public.”
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