• 10 August, 2020 11:44 am

International

Pelosi, Mnuchin open door to narrower COVID-19 aid through 2020

WASHINGTON August 10 :

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday said they were open to restarting COVID-19 aid talks, after weeks of failed negotiations prompted President Donald Trump to take executive actions that Democrats argued would do little to ease Americans’ financial distress

Discussions over a fifth bill to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic fell apart on Friday, a week after the expiration of a critical boost in unemployment assistance and eviction protections, exposing people to a wave of economic pain as infections continue to rise across the country.

Trump on Saturday sought to take matters into his own hands, signing executive orders and memorandums aimed at unemployment benefits, evictions, student loans and payroll taxes.

Trump told reporters in New Jersey before returning to Washington on Sunday that his suspension of the collection of the payroll tax could be made permanent. He said doing so would have no impact on Social Security because reimbursement would be made through the general fund.

Trump, noting that Democrats want to resume stimulus discussions, said the White House would be willing to talk to them again “if it’s not a waste of time.”

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, called Trump’s orders a “series of half-baked measures” and accused him of putting Social Security, the government pension plan for the elderly, “at grave risk” by delaying the collection of payroll taxes that pay for the program.

(Reuters)

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