Jobs lost during coronavirus will return as US economy reopens: Mnuchin

More than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured FOX News' Martha MacCallum on Wednesday that the jobs of the more than 33 million Americans who have filed for unemployment since March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will be recreated once the economy is reopened.

"I think we're doing everything to rebuild our economy and I think that we will rebuild our economy," Mnuchin said. "When you literally turn off the economy, you create big unemployment. When you open up the economy, you're going to create those jobs back."

Mnuchin added that he is "very sympathetic to the American business[es] and the American workers" that are dealing with the impact of the coronavirus.

"This was nobody's fault, this was a virus," Mnuchin said. "This was not the American public's fault."

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a more than $3 trillion stimulus package proposal known as the Heroes Act on Tuesday, which includes $1 trillion for states and cities, “hazard pay” for essential workers and a fresh round of direct cash payments to individuals.

“We must think big, for the people, now," Pelosi said. “Not acting is the most expensive course."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California speaks during an interview with The Associated Press on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The House is expected to vote on the package as soon as Friday, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said there is no “urgency” and that the Senate will wait until after Memorial Day to consider options.

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Mnuchin echoed McConnell's feelings Wednesday, saying Pelosi's bill is "clearly very partisan" and that the Trump administration isn't in any rush to spend more taxpayer dollars after approving roughly $3 trillion in coronavirus aid already.

"American workers and American business should know we're doing everything we need to do," Mnuchin said. "If we need to spend more money down the road, we'll come back and do that. We're not in a rush to do that this week or next week, we're going to take our time. This is taxpayer money and we're going to spend it very carefully."

He added that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have announced $2.5 trillion that struggling businesses will be able to utilize through the Main Street Lending Facility.

"I've only allocated half of the money," Mnuchin added. "So to the extent that we need another $2.5 trillion, that's there as well."

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks remotely during a virtual Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing, Tuesday, May 12, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Win

On Tuesday, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the Senate that reopening too soon could "turn back the clock" on economic recovery, but Mnuchin says he is confident the U.S. will be able to "conquer this virus" and reopen the economy safely at the same time.

While Mnuchin acknowledged the risk to public health by reopening too soon, he stressed that waiting too long to reopen will run the risk of destroying the U.S. economy.

"The president is absolutely concerned about the health of the American public, but there's also a risk if we wait too long," Mnuchin said. "There's a risk of destroying the U.S. economy and the health impact that that creates."

He said there are certain parts of the country with "very, very low cases" that should be able to open sooner, whereas in other harder-hit areas, like New York, the reopening process will take much longer.

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The comments from Mnuchin come as the United States has surpassed 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 84,000 deaths, according to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University.

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