Talks continued Saturday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hosting a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the Speaker’s office with the lead negotiators for the Trump administration, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but no deal was ultimately reached. The group will meet again on Monday and members of their staffs will meet Sunday to discuss issues, Schumer said.
Pelosi and Schumer told reporters following the meeting that the morning’s discussions were productive, but that the sides still are not close to an agreement.
“The best discussions we’ve had so far, I call it progress but a ways to go,” Schumer said, noting that it was the longest meeting the group has had to date.
Mnuchin and Meadows echoed that sentiment. “We’re still a long ways apart, and I don’t want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not,” Meadows said. “But like with any deal, as you make progress, I think it’s important to recognize that you’re making progress and not set an unrealistic expectation that we are just a few items away. Because there are still substantial differences, but we did make good progress.”
Mnuchin told reporters that “there’s clearly a subset of issues where we both agree on,” listing an extension of unemployment insurance, schools, the Paycheck Protection Program and jobs.
Pelosi had reiterated prior to the meeting that Democrats are not interested in a short-term agreement. Following the talks, Mnuchin said they were at an “impasse” over whether to pass a short-term fix to buy time for talks over a broader package.
“They’ve made clear, there’s clearly a desire on their part to do an entire package, we’ve made clear that we’re willing to deal with short-term issues and pass something quickly and come back to the larger issues, so we’re at an impasse on that,” he said.
There has been major disagreement, however, between Democrats and Republicans over how to deal with the program’s expiration. A House bill put forward by Democrats as their opening offer in the talks would extend the $600 enhanced benefit through January. In contrast, Republicans, in a plan unveiled at the beginning of the week, proposed cutting the weekly payment to $200 until states implement a system that replaces roughly 70% of laid-off workers’ wages.
The White House has also offered a shorter-term extension of the federal unemployment benefit, but it was rejected by Democrats who have argued any deal should be broader and include stimulus money for state and local governments, testing funding and more money for small business programs.
Republicans have argued that the existing system risks incentivizing some Americans not to go back to work by paying them more than they would at…
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