Coronavirus: Millions of Americans set to lose key $600 benefit

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday President Trump'is very focused on unemployment aid and assistance for renters

Millions will lose $600-a-week unemployment boost as White House and Democrats fail to make deal

Democrats want the full $600-per-week additional benefits extended at least through the end of the year.

Unemployment insurance is a principal element as the COVID-19 relief bill is expected to grow considerably from a $1 trillion-plus GOP draft released this week.

White House officials took their own hard partisan line, accusing Democrats of refusing Trump's proposals to extend the jobless benefit that expired yesterday and a moratorium on evictions that ended last week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows resumed talks earlier in the day, but failed to agree on a deal.

Heading into the meeting, Pelosi said she hoped to make progress on another coronavirus relief bill, "And I think we will".

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly refused to consider a piecemeal or stopgap approach.

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.

"Pelosi & Schumer blocked desperately needed unemployment payments, which is so bad, especially since they fully understand that it was not the workers fault that they are unemployed", Trump wrote.

Pelosi said such stopgap measures are only useful for a short-term extension when two sides are close to an agreement.

'I think they understand that we have to have a bill, but they just don't realize how big it has to be, ' she said.

According to a person familiar with the closed-door negotiations, the White House proposed continuing the US$600 weekly unemployment payment for one week, which Pelosi and Schumer rejected.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans tried, without success, to pass a bill reducing the jobless benefit to $200 per week.

As a last-ditch effort on Thursday to break a stalemate over the unemployment benefit, which Republicans want to scale back, arguing it is too generous and disincentivizes employment and hurts small businesses, Sen.

President Donald Trump joined in on the finger-pointing Friday afternoon, tweeting, "Pelosi & Schumer have no interest in making a deal that is good for our Country and our People".

"Very disappointed in @SenSchumer for blocking the temporary extension of the $600 unemployment benefits".

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.

There is still no deal in place from Congress to extend benefits that expire Friday to roughly 30 million Americans, and Long Island residents are among many who will see their incomes plunge dramatically. "They've not even been countered with a proposal".

The Democratic-controlled House passed legislation in May to address the unemployment aid and other issues, including food shortages, testing problems and money to help schools prepare for the return of students, she noted. Republicans added $20 billion for agribusinesses but nothing for greater food stamp benefits in their $1 trillion proposal. Debbie Stabenow of MI, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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