Federal Unemployment Extension Talks Continue As Official Expiration Puts Many In Jeopardy

Cheryl Sanders
August 1, 2020

President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows talk before Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Washington.

Talks will continue through the weekend but a deal seems far off.

"I think Mark Meadows is not particularly helpful in this", he said.

"Republicans in the Senate came back with a piecemeal approach". "The only accommodation that such a bill is, is if you're on the path and we're not".

"We just don't think they really understand the gravity of the problem", Schumer added.

A study by researchers at Yale found that workers who received more in unemployment benefits than their lost wages returned to work at the same rate as those who received less than they previously earned.

Said Mnuchin: "We made a proposal for a short-term deal". On certain issues we're still very far apart. "If we don't help prop it up, people are going to be in deep, deep distress, and so many people are now", Mr. "We're not close yet, but it was a productive discussion - now each side knows where they're at".

The group of four have met for four days in a row but have failed to make a deal. The benefits would only last for a few months before states would be required to set up their own unemployment programs. Before Trump spoke, top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell adjourned the chamber for the weekend while taking a procedural step that could allow voting on a potential compromise next week.

It's clear that Democrats are trying to push an advantage in the negotiations because Republicans are so split over the prospect of additional government spending and jobless benefits.

Meanwhile, the loss of the unemployment benefits will strike a financial blow to the tens of millions of Americans who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Commerce Department said the US economy saw its worst second-quarter performance in history, and the Labor Department reported that unemployment filings had increased for the second week in a row. Unemployment sits at 14.7 per cent.

Nikole Killion reports on the ongoing negotiations.

He also said he'd push for the package to include another round of checks for Americans - similar to the $1,200 checks that were circulated, and signed by the president, earlier this year.

"State offices will need weeks to reprogram their systems to account for an extension of the $600 weekly federal payments that expire on Saturday - or any changes that Congress makes to the benefit amount or eligibility rules", Politico reported, noting that laid-off workers in some states still have not received any of the federal benefits to which they were entitled.

Economic analyses have repeatedly shown that the boosted federal benefits have helped prop up other parts of the economy - and a cut would cost the US millions of jobs.

But Democrats blocked the legislation, saying it was not enough. "They've not even been countered with a proposal". "All of it is predicated on a lower benefit for America's working families at a time where the virus is accelerating".

Republicans want a smaller relief plan than one passed by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

McConnell has tried to push the blame to the opposition.

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