Federal unemployment benefits are expected to lapse on Friday, leaving tens of millions without federal aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reports.
Negotiations between the Democratic-led House of Representatives and the Republican-led Senate have “hit an impasse,” the outlet reported, and there is “no clear path forward” for a deal before the benefits expire.
“I don’t know that there is another plan, other than no deal," White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said. "Which will allow unemployment, enhanced unemployment, I might add, to expire. … No deal certainly becomes a greater possibility the longer these negotiations go.”
“We are nowhere close to a deal,” he added.
“There’s no consensus on anything,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn told reporters. "We’re far away right now.”
Democrats reject GOP cut:
Republicans want to drastically slash unemployment benefits from $600 per week to $200 per week. Democrats have said that is a non-starter and approved a full extension of the $600 per week benefit in May.
“Our Republican friends don’t seem to come close to meeting the moment. … They’ve put us up against the wall. We have two cliffs because they wouldn’t negotiate for months,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “They’re tied in a total knot because of the disunity in their caucus, because of their inability to gather votes, because the president says one thing one day, he says another thing the other day. We want to come back and keep talking to them. But they don’t have anything to say.”
GOP floats extension separate from relief:
Trump suggested passing an extension separate from the rest of the relief package.
“The rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care, we really don’t care,” Trump said this week.
But Democrats rejected the piecemeal approach.
“We don’t know why the Republicans come around here with a skinny bill that does nothing to address really what’s happening with the virus, and has a little of this and a little of that. We’re not accepting that," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "We have to have the comprehensive full bill.”