Meadows on coronavirus stimulus deal: ‘Negotiators still have a long way to go’
Democrats in Congress and the Trump Administration don’t seem to be any closer to a deal on the next coronavirus relief package. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CBS on Sunday that he is not optimistic about a quick agreement.
“Negotiators still have a long way to go,” said Meadows. “I’m not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term.”
The main disagreement between Republicans and Democrats is the extension of unemployment benefits, which expired last week. Democrats want the $600 per week of additional unemployment benefits included in a previous relief bill extended.
Republicans, however, continue to maintain that the benefits are resulting in millions of Americans not returning to work because they can make more on unemployment. The Republican Senate has proposed reducing the payments to $200 and calling on states to make up an additional 70% of an individual’s income. Democrats have called the plan outrageous and say they will not accept it.
“If you have people that have lost their enhanced unemployment, they need to call their Democrat senators and House members because they’re the ones that are standing in the way of having those extended,” Meadows said.
Meadows was joined by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Capitol Hill Saturday where he met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Meadows said that the meeting was a step in the right direction, but that major disagreements are putting a deal out of reach.
Republicans are now pushing for Congress to craft a smaller relief bill that would address the unemployment benefits while they continue to negotiate a larger relief package. Democrats say they are tired of waiting and Americans need the full relief package now.
“Hopefully that’ll change in the coming day[s],” Meadows said, referring to the Democrats holding up a smaller relief deal.
Schumer lashed out at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Twitter saying that the leader wasn’t even in on the negotiations with the White House.
“Sen. McConnell isn’t even in our negotiations with the White House because Senate Republicans don’t have a unified position on anything. The main thing we hear is that he’d torpedo relief for Americans unless there’s a giant corporate immunity provision attached. Unacceptable,” Schumer tweeted.
Pelosi said Democrats won’t pass a smaller bill. She said she doesn’t want to come back to the table again in two or three months and wants to give Americans relief now.
“Republicans always talk about the private sector’s need for certainty. America’s working families deserve the same courtesy. #AMJoy,” Pelosi tweeted.
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