We 'obviously' need to support workers, economy: Mnuchin

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is interviewed on "This Week."
8:50 | 08/02/20

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Transcript for We 'obviously' need to support workers, economy: Mnuchin
Let's get the trump administration response from treasury secretary Steve mnuchin. Secretary mnuchin, you agreed that the meetings were constructive yesterday. Your reaction to what you just heard speaker Pelosi say. Are you closer to any deal? First, let me say, I was surprised to hear the speaker say we don't agree on the need to kill the virus. Let me just say the president acted very aggressively when this virus first came from China to shut down all travel and since then, we have aggressively funded over seven different vaccines into production. We're very optimistic that we'll have results out of these vaccines and we'll have a vaccine available by the end of the year. So we absolutely agree on the need to kill this. Let me also just say the president is very concerned about the expiration of the unemployment insurance. We proposed a one-week extension at $600 so that while we negotiate a longer-term solution at least all those people don't lose their money and I'm surprised that the Democrats won't agree to that, they're insistence on having this as part of a larger deal. I'm not sure that the president shut down all travel at that point. But let's move on. The Democrats passed that plan to extend their benefits through January two months ago, why did Republicans wait so long for negotiating? At the time, we had enormous bipartisan support on the last two deals. Passed 9 of he 0 and 100-0. As a result of that, we've authorized over $3 trillion into the U.S. Economy. This has never been done in the history of time. We put about half of that into the economy. We wanted to wait and see how the money was going to work. And we have to balance. There's obviously a need to support workers and support the economy. People through no fault of their own are shut down because of this terrible disease. On the other hand, we have to be careful about not piling on enormous amount of debt for The president has been highly critical of the Democrats saying this on Friday. I think the Democrats don't care about the people of our country. I really don't. I told my people the Democrats don't care about the people of our country. They don't do what you should be doing for the people of our country, whether it's unemployment or anything else. He also tweeted that he was very disappointed in senator Schumer for blocking the temporary extension of the $600 unemployment benefits. The do nothing Democrats are more interested in playing politics than in helping our deserving people. Yet, senate majority leader Mcconnell himself acknowledges between 15 to 20 of his members, that's about one-third, think they we have already done enough are not going to vote for anything. Your reaction? Well, let me first say that mark meadows and I have been updating the president regularly and he's concerned, because he's most focused on we got to get kids back to school, we got to deal with unemployment issue, we have to deal with renters who are now at risk of being evicted. The president wants us to get a deal done quickly. Because this is important to the American people. Now, I would just say across both parties there are different things that are very contentious. The Democrats right now are insisting on over a trillion dollars to that state and local governments to bail out those states who had financial issues but there's definitely areas of agreement, things like ppp, I think there's enormous bipartisan support. Things about checks in the mail, I think there's enormous bipartisan result. We'll be back there every day until we reach an agreement. On the other hand, there's a big need to get kids into schools, get people back to jobs and keep the economy open and keep people safe. You know, speaker Pelosi said the Republican offer was $200 not the $600 people have been receiving, that's a huge cut for people with mortgages and rent payments and trying to feed their families. There was $600 offer for one week, I'm not going to make public comments, but mark meadows and I have made three or four different offers that deal with the enhanced unemployment. I think as you said Steny Hoyer and others understand that unemployment is supposed to be wage replacement, so it should be tied to some percentage of wages, the fact that we had a flat number was only an issue of an emergency, where we had 30-year-old computer systems, so I think on the concept we absolutely agree on enhanced unemployment, we want to fix the in some cases people are overpaid and we want to make sure there's the right incentives. But again, let me just emphasize, we put on a table a proposal, let's extend at the same rate white we negotiate. So we don't hurt the American public. You do think it's a disincentive to find a job if you have that extra $600? There's no question in certain cases where we're paying people more to stay home than to work, that's created issues in the entire economy. But let me just say -- I want to interrupt you there for just one second, it's not all the evidence, a Yale study from this month refutes that, saying many economists who have studied the benefits saying so far they don't see any evidence in labor market data that the payments are affecting the rate of people returning to work. I went to Yale. Certain things that I don't always agree. There's a Chicago study that goes through all the people who are overpaid. Let's face it, we know factually, okay, 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. The gdp saw its largest contraction in modern history this month, wiping out the past five years of economic growth, what do you think our economy will look like in the coming months? And after the pandemic hopefully is over, I see all of these boarded up buildings, people unemployed. Just give us a vision of what you think it will look like. Well, let me just say this virus has devastated our economy and it's no fault of this virus came from China, they should have been more forthright early on. I said before the second quarter was going to be horrible. We've never had a scenario in the history of time where we shut down the entire U.S. Economy. It's like turning off the water faucets, of course gdp is going to be down. As we open up the water faucets and many parts of economy can safely operate, I think you'll see a very big bounceback off a very low number this quarter assuming we continue on the right policies. But we have a lot of work to do and we all agree we got to kill this virus and we couldn't be more pleased with the scientific improvements that we're making on testing and on the vaccine and I think when we have a vaccine and life gets back to normal you're going to see a great economy again next year. I want to ask you about tiktok, the president says he plans to ban the Chinese video application through executive order. Is that something you recommended? Let me make a brief comment. I chair the committee on foreign investments. I have said publicly that it's under review. I will say publicly that the entire committee agrees that tiktok cannot stay in the current format, because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans. I have spoken to senators cotton and Rubio and the speaker and senator Schumer, we all agree twl has to be a chance. The president can either force a sale or block the app. I'm not going to comment on my specific decision Kuss with the president everybody agrees it can't exist as it does. Okay, thanks so much for joining us this morning, Mr. Secretary.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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