Deep divide on aid bill, jobless benefit nears end

Provided by CNN

Provided by CNN

With 30 million people now collecting jobless benefits, government relief represents 7.1 per cent of American personal income. Top Democrats announced a meeting with administration representatives for Saturday morning after Thursday night talks at the Capitol failed to produce a breakthrough.

"On certain issues we made progress, on certain issues we're still very far apart", treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters on Capitol Hill after leaving a meeting with Democratic leaders on Friday without a deal or short-term fix.

Meadows accused Democrats of politically-motivated stalling.

MARK MEADOWS: The Democrats believe that they have all the cards on their side, and they're willing to play those cards at the expense of those that are hurting.

Millions of Americans will lose their $600-a-week enhanced unemployment unemployment at midnight on Friday as the White House and Democrats struggle to come up with a deal that would extend the benefits. 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.

"Let's get real about who says what", Pelosi 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. The aide wasn't supposed to divulge contents of the talks and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Pelosi charged Republicans with offering a "piecemeal" solution.

"There are two things to remember".

Pelosi went on to say, "They're asking about doing something for a week".

Pelosi asked as she explained why Democrats rejected a proposal to extend enhanced unemployment benefits at their current $600-weekly level for an additional week.

On Friday, Trump took to Twitter to explicitly endorse extending the $600 payment and criticizing top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer.

Pelosi and Schumer have been against the temporary extensions since it was first proposed. "The Do Nothing Democrats are more interested in playing politics than in helping our deserving people", Trump tweeted. Will we continue to discuss? Yes. "Absolutely", Schumer said. "But it's got to meet the gravity of the problem".

A study by researchers at Yale found that workers who received more in unemployment benefits than their lost wages returned to work at the same rate as those who received less than they previously earned.

House members left Washington yesterday, although they were told they could be called back with 24 hours' notice for votes during August. The pending COVID-19 rescue bill, the fifth since the pandemic has struck, is likely the last one before the November election. But Democrats have repeatedly rejected that approach and continue pushing for a wide-ranging $3 trillion bill the House passed in May.

Economic analyst Martin Cantor disagrees, saying the larger benefit gave some people an incentive not to work and that it needs to change if the economy is going to move forward.

"I think Mark Meadows is not particularly helpful in this", he said.

For weeks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said any deal must include a shield for companies and schools from liability lawsuits as they reopen.

Congress has so far agreed on about $3 trillion in coronavirus relief. Debbie Stabenow of MI, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Republicans added $20 billion for agribusinesses but nothing for greater food stamp benefits.

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