Deep Washington divide on coronavirus aid as jobless benefit to expire

Chuck Schumer et al. standing in a room Congress Works To Pass Second COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill

"What we're seeing is politics as usual from Democrats on Capitol Hill", White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters.

The unemployment insurance is a principal element as talks continue on a COVID-19 relief bill, which is expected to grow considerably from a $1 trillion-plus GOP draft released this week.

Pelosi said at a news conference.

Pelosi, brimming with confidence, offered a tutorial on negotiating Friday.

"We just don't think they understand the gravity of the problem", the senator told reporters.

Meadows said that the White House made "no less than four" offers to Democrats dealing with the enhanced benefit and eviction protection and said that the offers were all rejected.

Meadows and Mnuchin rejected that but the treasury secretary voiced optimism about negotiations as he left the Capitol building. "What are we going to do in a week?" she asked.

At this point, there has been little progress toward any kind of deal to reinstate the benefit, but there has been plenty of finger pointing on both sides with both blaming the other for the lapse.

'Did we have a good discussion? Yes. Do we want to continue to come to an agreement?

The group of four have met for four days in a row but have failed to make a deal.

That means the 30.5 million jobless Americans who were receiving the benefit will go their first week without the $600 check.

The US economy shrank at a 32.9% annual rate between April and June - the sharpest decline for decades. Unemployment sits at 14.7 per cent.

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 USA millions of jobs.

On Monday, Senate Republicans unveiled their stimulus plans.

He also said he'd push for the package to include another round of checks for Americans - similar to the $1,200 checks that were circulated, and signed by the president, earlier this year. "We need to rectify this and pass an extension, now". 'Like the payments sent directly to 160 million Americans earlier this year, which was a tremendously successful program'.

As debate ensues on the wider stimulus plan, Republicans pushed Thursday to pass a short-term extension of the $600 unemployment benefit.

But Democrats blocked the legislation, saying it was not enough.

In adjourning the Senate, McConnell took a procedural step that could allow voting on a potential compromise next week.

GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Martha McSally of Arizona and Mitt Romney of Utah also rolled out a slightly different offer on Thursday.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, is pushing a $3 trillion-plus package the House passed in May that extended the juiced-up unemployment benefits through January and included billions of additional dollars for direct payments to Americans and state and local governments.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., attempted to cut the unemployment benefit in a measure separate from the larger package being negotiated for the next phase of coronavirus relief on Thursday, but Democrats balked at both the cut and the piecemeal approach. 'The Democrats are saying, my way or the highway'.



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