White House Says Not Optimistic on Near-Term Deal for Coronavirus Relief Bill

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Sunday he was not optimistic on reaching agreement soon on a deal for the next round of legislation to provide relief to Americans hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term,” Meadows said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” as staff members from both sides were meeting to try to iron out differences over the bill.

Democrats were standing in the way of a separate agreement to extend some federal unemployment benefits in the short-term while negotiations continue on an overall relief package, he said.

“We continue to see really a stonewalling of any piecemeal type of legislation that happens on Capitol Hill,” Meadows said. “Hopefully that will change in the coming days.”

Lawmakers and the White House have been unable to reach an accord for a next round of economic relief from a pandemic that has killed more than 150,000 Americans and triggered the sharpest economic collapse since the Great Depression.

Both sides said on Saturday they had their most positive talks yet. But there was no sign of movement on the biggest sticking point – $600 per week in extra federal unemployment benefits for Americans that has been a lifeline for millions of jobless Americans and expired on Friday.

Asked about efforts to renew the expired emergency federal jobless benefits, Pelosi said, referring to Trump: “He’s the one standing in the way of that.”

Pelosi, who also highlighted the need for assistance for state and local governments, stood firm in her demand that Congress renew the $600 per week jobless aid. She told ABC’s “This Week” that when unemployment drops, the federal support could fall too.

“As that goes down, then you can consider something less than the $600, but in this agreement it’s $600,” she said. “It’s essential for America’s working families.”

The Trump administration and some Senate Republicans have been pushing for a reduction in those extra federal benefits, saying they should be tied to wages. Other Senate Republicans have rejected any extension.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told ABC Trump supports the enhanced benefits but does not want people to make more when they are unemployed than they would if they had a job.

“I think on the concept, we absolutely agree on enhanced unemployment. We want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid and we want to make sure there’s the right incentives,” Mnuchin said.

There is a need to support workers and the economy, he said, but “we have to be careful about not piling on enormous amount of debts for future generation.”

The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, proposed their version of relief legislation in May. The Republican-led U.S. Senate did not make a counter-proposal until last week and even Republicans do not agree among themselves on what should be in the bill.

Mnuchin told reporters on Saturday the talks were constructive but had reached an “impasse” over whether to come to a short-term agreement to extend the federal jobless benefit or a more comprehensive deal.

The officials will meet again on Monday, after their staff meet on Sunday.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Daniel Wallis)

Responses

  1. BTW, Chuck.

    How do you propose all of the people who have no jobs and aren’t likely to have another one for a long, long time pay off their accumulated credit card debts since the pandemic started, let alone all of the debts that they accumulated just so that they, you know, LIVE?

    Read this and tell us your wonderful, well thought out, brilliant solution now that 11.1% have no jobs:

    statista.com/chart/19955/household-debt-balance-in-the-united-states/

  2. Chuck: you are a confused, partisan fool. There is no way around that.

    That $600 plus up and the eviction moratorium are what kept this economy at least humming enough that it didn’t implode. Now you have neither. Good going! Well done!

    For an economy that that is 70% consumer based, guess what? For it to keep progressing (that means we are doing better) consumers need money in their hands. Nearly half of the American population are either poor or on that edge. Where do you think that they are going to get cash, you know – to BUY things – if they have been forced into lockdown or they have been laid off or even fired? Where? From under their threadbare mattresses? You are confused.

    In hindsight (you know, learning things AFTER the fact), we should have had a UBI starting in March, until this was over and there was enough of a recovery that it could be phased out, but American Fascists can’t live with themselves if somebody gets a tinkle more than they “deserve” or “should have”.

    So here we are. Politicians gave wealthy people and corporations dump trucks worth of bailout money, to prop up their treasure locked in the stock market, with almost NO oversight, mind you, and they don’t want to keep the economy (you know, consumers) primed, to keep that sacred engine going, because of what? Rich people can’t stand poor people. That’s all this is. Y’all are willing to slice the nose off of your faces to spite poor people.

    What a bunch of losers.

  3. Pelosi, the Walking Dead, knew that $600 was too much for unemployment, so that’s what the Democrats insist on. There would be no incentive to go back to work as long as Pelosi and the Democrats could keep it going. She proposed a long time ago, a $2000 guaranteed monthly income. I guess this is that and a little more. Paying for votes. It’s all politics and the delay is from the Democrats again, just like with the CARES Act. Lying, cheating, corrupt Democrats. Lying, cheating, corrupt Democrats.

  4. So no funding for the new FBI building or the 100% tax deductible business lunches. Both would do wonders for addressing the COVID crisis.

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