Pelosi says far from coronavirus deal; more talks with White House today

Clay Curtis
August 1, 2020

With 30 million people now collecting jobless benefits, government relief represents 7.1 per cent of American personal income. On Friday, Meadows and Pelosi traded acrimonious accusations about who was to blame for the benefits expiring.

Congress and White House officials have spent the week in negotiations after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell presented a proposal on Monday.

Republicans have argued that the benefits pay many workers more than 100% of their previous salary, making it hard for businesses to bring back workers.

All the players say they want an agreement but none have - yet - been willing to compromise on key points, such as the amount to extend the unemployment benefits, for how long, and additional funding for cities and states whose budgets took a hit during the pandemic. "Why else would they not have had food in their proposal?"

He added: 'This money will help millions of hardworking families get by'.

The $600 federal unemployment subsidy and the national eviction moratorium on some properties will expire Friday after Democrats and Republicans failed to reach an agreement on an economic aid package meant to deal with the growing surge of COVID-19.

"First, we want a temporary extension of expanded unemployment benefits", President Donald Trump said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Congressional Democrats including Ohio Democratic Sen.

"Let's say that the path that they have taken us down with their delay, their denials, their distortions have caused death - speaking alliteratively - has caused deaths unnecessarily", Pelosi told reporters Friday on Capitol Hill.

For weeks, McConnell has said that any deal with Democrats would require a shield for companies and schools from liability lawsuits as they reopen during the pandemic. 'The Democrats are saying, my way or the highway'.

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Schumer insisted it was McConnell who "refuses to go in the room" and negotiate, according to the AP.

Besides the $600 "enhanced" payment, Democrats are seeking a wide-ranging economic stimulus bill that would include about $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments experiencing plunging revenues during the economic downturn.

The White House on Friday sought to put the onus on Democrats in Congress for a failure to renew the benefits, saying they had rejected four offers put forward by the Trump administration without countering.

"On certain issues we made progress, on certain issues we're still very far apart", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday after a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said the White House hinted that it could embrace a deal without that provision.

Some Republicans have offered short-term extensions to keep benefits flowing while negotiations continue, but Pelosi rejected the idea as "worthless".

"Clearly, they and perhaps the White House do not understand the gravity of the situation".

Without a deal in sight, it is unclear when the two sides may move on any legislation.

Lawmakers and the White House are at odds over efforts to further shore up the economy and manage the pandemic, which has left tens of millions of Americans out of work and killed more than 152,000 people in the United States.

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