Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday said the spike in people claiming unemployment amid the coronavirus emergency are “not relevant” because of a relief passage making its way through Congress.
Mnuchin made the remarks during a CNBC interview on Thursday. The United States Department of Labor announced on Thursday that 3.28 million people filed unemployment claims in the week ending on March 21, citing the coronavirus emergency as a reason for the uptick.
The Daily Dot is committed to filtering the noise every day as COVID-19 seizes the internet’s attention worldwide. We bring you stories on everything related to the viral pandemic, from the state response to social media fallout, and all the technical flubs, emerging social trends, and disinformation in between. READ MORE ->
“To be honest with you, I just think these numbers right now are not relevant,” Mnuchin said on CNBC. “Whether they’re bigger or smaller in the short term, obviously there are people who have jobless claims, and again, the good thing about this bill is, the president is protecting these people. Now with these plans, small businesses hopefully will be able to hire back a lot those people. Last week they didn’t know if they had any protections. They didn’t have any cash, they had no choice. Now with this bill passed by Congress, there are protections.”
Late Wednesday, the Senate passed a $2.2 trillion emergency relief bill that would send checks to hundreds of millions of Americans. The House of Representatives is slated to vote on the bill on Friday.
Mnuchin’s remarks about the unemployment claim numbers being “not relevant” struck a chord with people on Twitter—many of whom were not happy.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said the numbers “were in fact extremely relevant” and tagged Mnuchin.
“These unemployment #s are in fact extremely relevant, @stevenmnuchin1. Millions of people lost their livelihoods. Which also means millions lost their health insurance. If moments like this don’t reveal the urgent need for #MedicareForAll, I don’t know what will,” the lawmaker tweeted on Thursday.
Pocan wasn’t alone.
The relief bill is expected to deliver one-time payments of $1,200 to low- and middle-income Americans, as well as offer extended unemployment benefits.
Last updated Mar 26, 2020, 12:13 pm
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).