Negotiations continued between congressional Democrats and the White House ahead of the expiration of federal unemployment benefits which have been a lifeline for millions of unemployed Americans.
“What we’re seeing is politics as usual from Democrats up on Capitol Hill.”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday blamed Democrats for the failure to temporarily extend the enhanced weekly jobless payment:
“The Democrats believe they have all the cards on their side and they’re willing to play those cards at the expense of those that are hurting and we’ll continue on with additional discussions today with Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi…”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday explained that she rejected the White House's proposal for a temporary extension of benefits because the two sides were still miles apart on a broader coronavirus aid bill:
“We’re saying, we have the Heroes Act - respond to us on that and we’ll go forward.”
In mid-May, the Democratic-controlled House passed a $3 trillion bill that the Republican Senate has ignored.
Now - two sides remain at odds over efforts to further shore up the economy and manage the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, Senate Republicans tried, without success, to pass a bill reducing the jobless benefit from $600 to $200 per week.
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.
But a source told Reuters the White House hinted that it could embrace a deal without that provision.
Democrats want a wide-ranging stimulus bill that would include about $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments experiencing plunging revenues.