Talks continue on Saturday with spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi hosting a meeting with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer in the speaker’s office with key negotiators for the Trump administration, White House staff chief Mark Meadows and secretary at the Treasure Steven Mnuchin.
“We just hope they are willing to negotiate today, if they are, we are ready to make an agreement on behalf of the American people,” Meadows said as he entered Pelosi’s office on Saturday morning. Arriving before the meeting, the speaker of the House told reporters that he hopes “to make progress on a long-term agreement” and reiterated that Democrats are not interested in a short-term agreement.
There has been a great deal of disagreement, however, between Democrats and Republicans about how to manage the program deadline. A bill proposed by the Democrats as their opening offer in the talks would extend the increased benefit by $ 600 through January. In contrast, the Republicans, in a plan presented earlier in the week, proposed reducing the weekly payment to $ 200 until states implement a system that replaces roughly 70% of the wages of laid-off workers.
The White House also offered a short-term extension of the federal unemployment benefit, but was rejected by Democrats who argued that any deal should be broader and include stimulus funds for state and local governments to test funding. and more money for small business programs.
Republicans have argued that the existing system risks incentivizing some Americans not to return to work by paying them more than they would in their previous jobs, while Democrats have argued that the benefits should be left intact.
At this point, there has been little progress towards any type of deal to restore the lead, but there have been many fingers pointed on both sides with both blaming the other for the interval.
On Friday, during the press conferences on the duel, Meadows stepped onto the podium of the White House meeting room to accuse the Democrats of “playing politics at a critical time”
Meadows said the White House made “no fewer than four” offers to Democrats who are concerned with strengthening the advantage and protection from eviction, and said that all offers have been rejected.
In the light of how far apart the two sides are, Pelosi rejected Friday in an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on the claim that the White House offered a short-term extension of the benefit the Democrats rejected.
“This is not true,” said Pelosi. “Let’s just get it straight. They haven’t made any offer like that. They haven’t made any offer like that. Don’t accept something like that just because the White House said it.”
Pelosi went on to say, “They are asking to do something for a week.” He added that Republicans are “making up what they say they offer and the rest. But you understand this, spending something for a week without all the other things they should follow is not a path we will follow. It is a public relations stunts on their part “.
In the midst of the war of words, however, it is worth taking note of what Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell did on Thursday, which signals the impending action in the upper house.
He presented a shell bill and, with a simple majority vote, brought it into play for the next week – something that creates a range of potential options, from serving as a vehicle for a short-term unemployment deal, or even a global agreement or just a place where there will be duels over the votes of the messages. But the point is this: there will be actions on the Senate next week. It could all be a secondary event, but movements of any kind often begin to spark real discussions that lead to a real movement about things.
House majority leader Steny Hoyer, meanwhile, informed members Friday that despite an expected August break, the House is expected to meet during August as talks continue around a relief package from the coronavirus. Members will receive at least 24 hours’ notice before being called back to vote.
This story was updated with further developments on Saturday.
Ali Zaslav and Betsy Klein of CNN contributed to this report.