Mnuchin: Democrats will ‘have a lot of explaining to do’ if they want to challenge Trump orders in court
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday defended President Trump’s coronavirus executive actions and said that Democrats would be responsible for delaying assistance to Americans if they challenged them in court.
“We’ve cleared with the Office of Legal Counsel all these actions,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If the Democrats want to challenge us in court and hold up unemployment benefits to those hardworking Americans that are out of a job because of COVID, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do.”
Fox News’s Chris Wallace noted that the president’s executive actions would provide for $400 in increased federal unemployment benefits, down $200 from the enhancement that recently expired.
“Do you really think that the millions of families that lost jobs because of the virus don’t need the extra $200 a week?” he asked Mnuchin.
“We thought $400 was a fair compromise. We offered to continue to pay $600 while we negotiate, and the Democrats turned that down,” Mnuchin responded, to which Wallace countered that that proposal had been for only one week.
“Actually, we extended it to two weeks,” Mnuchin said, adding that Democrats “made perfectly clear they’re not going to agree on a piecemeal deal. They want to hold up the American public from getting the money they need until they get everything they want, which is just a bad outcome.”
Mnuchin also claimed Trump’s proposed payroll tax suspension would not lead to reductions in Social Security payments, saying that “the president in no way wants to harm those trust funds, so they’d be reimbursed just as they always have in the past when we’ve done these types of things.”
Pressed by Wallace on how the suspension would be paid for without increasing some other tax, such as income, Mnuchin responded, “You just have a transfer from the general fund.”
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