Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters “we will not give up. We will not go away,”
WASHINGTON – After more than a week of discussions, top Democrats and White House negotiators say a deal on a coronavirus stimulation package could be reached by the end of the week and approved next week, potentially good news for millions of unemployed Americans whose increased unemployment benefits have expired.
The movement followed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and met another day with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Staff House Chief Meadows in the White House. Both sides said they agreed to a series of concessions but also acknowledged that they still had a number of differences that they were trying to implement, even though neither of them would set specific policy items.
“They made some concessions, which we appreciated. We made some concessions, which they appreciated. We are still far away on many important issues,” Schumer told reporters after the meeting. “The fundamental disagreement is the scope and depth of the problem and its solution.”
Mnuchin and Meadows said they had made new offers to Democrats to extend tenant protection against drafts and improved unemployment benefits, a crucial and divisive article after a $ 600 weekly benefit that has helped millions of unemployed workers expire on Friday – which left many Americans in economic limbo as Congress and the administration continue to hash out the differences in their trillion-dollar proposals.
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“Although there are still a number of unresolved issues, I would characterize the conversations as productive and a step in the right direction,” Meadows said after the meeting. “Probably the most productive meeting we’ve had.”
Mnuchin added that although both sides still differ on a number of policy items, “we tried to agree on a timeline that we will try to reach an overall agreement if we can get one by the end of this week, so that the legislation then could be adopted next week. “
Pelosi reiterated the point during a PBS interview on Tuesday, saying the plan was to reach an agreement by the end of the week, but noted the major differences in priorities between Democrats and Republicans. “We have to have an agreement and we will have an agreement,” she said.
Negotiations on the next package are expected to continue on Wednesday at Capitol Hill.
President Donald Trump has said he is considering taking executive action if an agreement cannot be reached with Congress and tells reporters that he may act unilaterally on the moratorium on recent evictions and a tax cut in payroll taxes, something he has repeatedly called for be part of various coronavirus laws but have been met with blunt rejection by legislators on both sides of the aisle.
It is not clear if Trump has the power to make such moves, and it would probably be legally challenged.
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Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on many issues at the heart of the next package, one of the biggest being the $ 600 increase to unemployment, which Democrats want to extend until at least January and Republicans have argued it is too high and to disincentive Americans from go back to work. Bonus enhancement statistics benefit the national average of about $ 370 per week.
There are also differences in a variety of articles, from state and local government and post office funds, areas that are important to Democrats and corporate liability insurance, something Republicans have said is a requirement in every next bill.
The Senate this week is likely to take action against the overdue increase in unemployment benefits, but it is unclear if any action will be taken once the Democrats have dug into the heel of a piecemeal approach to transfer additional funds to counter the pandemic. Senate Republicans last week tried to pass a one-week extension of the $ 600 benefit, but Democrats blocked the proposal, claiming it would still lead to delays in family funds and stressed Republicans working with them on a long-term solution.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Who has not been involved in the negotiations on the next package, on Tuesday acknowledged the gap within his own conference during the next bill, which has added another hurdle to finding a compromise to quickly get funds for American families.
“If you look for a full consensus among Republican senators, you will not find it. So we have divisions about what to do,” he said during a weekly conference, adding that this round of talks is different from the others because of its proximity to the election. “It will not produce a Kumbaya moment like we had in March or April where everyone voted.
The United States recently topped 4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and has now reached another inevitable milestone.
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