White House, Democrats at coronavirus stimulus stalemate
Aug 02 2020
"In the middle of a pandemic, you don't cut the lifeline to millions of workers in this country", Brown told reporters, noting that the extra benefit is expiring as the same time as an eviction moratorium in the bill, and a moratorium on power and water shutoffs in many communities.
Republicans have argued that businesses haven't been able to rehire workers who now may be taking in more from unemployment benefits than they would from returning to jobs. Those federal benefits expire on July 31, meaning tens of millions of Americans are about to have their income slashed by more than 60% overnight.
The White House on Thursday offered a one-week extension of the $600 weekly unemployment benefit, top Democrats said. Thursday brought more tit-for-tat. The benefits would only last for a few months before states would be required to set up their own unemployment programs.
'I would say on certain issues we made progress. - Congress is now locked in debate over the size and composition of the next spending bill, with Democrats fighting to retain the $600 additional weekly payment made to unemployed workers set to expire today.
Economic analyses have repeatedly shown that the boosted federal benefits have helped prop up other parts of the economy - and a cut would cost the US millions of jobs.
Republicans want a smaller relief plan than one passed by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Some conservatives have refused to back any new spending, and the Republican proposal unveiled this week would slash the federal benefit to $200 per week. Democrats unanimously opposed the measure, authored by GOP Sens. "The only accommodation that such a bill is, is if you're on the path and we're not".
Schumer continued his daily fusillade against McConnell and Republicans controlling the Senate, noting that McConnell "refuses to go in the room" and join the talks in person, instead transferring ownership of the talks to Meadows, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been a key architect of previous accords. "Now each side knows where they're at", he said. 'The Democrats are saying, my way or the highway'.
The White House and some of its Republican allies in the Senate are signaling they want to extend, at least temporarily, a $600-per-week expanded jobless benefit that has helped keep families and the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But a number of Republicans rejected that proposal, leaving GOP leadership in the hard position of needing a sizable number of Democrats to pass that.
The two sides took their case to the media Friday morning, with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaking to reporters on short notice at the exact moment House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared at her weekly news conference.
The source, who asked not to be identified, said the White House hinted that it could embrace a deal without that provision. "It's worthless unless you are using it for [that] objective", House speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Friday after meeting with Republicans.
Nevertheless the positive comments after the meeting suggested that the two sides might finally be heading toward a deal, after four straight days of meetings this past week produced nothing but angry rhetoric. The Senate is expected to start its August recess at the end of next week.
Also at issue in the negotiations is an nearly $1 trillion Democratic demand for funding for state and local governments, a second $1,200 direct payment to most American adults, more than $100 billion to help schools reopen and a liability shield measure that is essential to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.