Mnuchin says Congress is "very far apart" from deal on coronavirus bill

Mnuchin says Congress is

While Trump lambasted Democrats - claiming without evidence that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "takes care of herself" and no one else - his comments align with what U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said in an interview Tuesday: that the Trump administration actually appears closer to Democrats' views on a stimulus deal than Senate Republicans.

The enhanced federal unemployment benefits that millions of Americans rely upon will formally expire on Friday as Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on the next COVID-19 relief bill, a senior White House official said on Wednesday. The Senate GOP bill released Monday proposes cutting it to $200 weekly until states can phase in a new system that would aim to replace 70 percent of a worker's wages before unemployment.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham blasted the GOP Senate version, calling it "unworkable". Advertisement Data shows that jobs have not rebounded as fast as they were cut back in March.

The Republicans come to the negotiating table hobbled by infighting and delays. It does not contain any new money for state and local governments - a key Democratic demand - but instead gives state and local leaders additional flexibility in spending the $150 billion approved in the Cares Act in March. In the intervening months, the crisis deepened.

Besides the jobless benefit, lawmakers are also arguing over a Republican plan to prevent liability lawsuits against businesses and schools reopening during the pandemic. People making $75,000 or less would receive the full amount, with the benefit phased out for those earning above $99,000, or double for married couples filing joint taxes. People earning above $100,000 would again not qualify for the payment.

"The focus of this legislation is wrong", Sen.

"We don't know why the Republicans come around here with a skinny bill that does nothing to address what's happening with the virus", Pelosi told reporters at the US Capitol after meeting with Republicans. "Our priority, our objective, should be restarting the economy".

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As bipartisan talks unfold, the White House has suggested a narrower relief package may be all that's possible. Among other things, it promises to sharply reduce the level of federal support provided to millions of unemployed workers - a reduction that is unlikely to help either the economy or Republicans heading into the fall election.

"As of now, we're very far apart", Mnuchin said to a reporter asking about how protests have affected the aid deal. The state borrowed $10.7 billion to pay unemployment benefits during the Great Recession a decade ago and only finished paying the money back in 2018 by raising taxes on employers.

"Children are hungry, families can not pay the rent, unemployment is expiring and the Republicans want to pause again and go piecemeal", Pelosi said.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) accused both Democrats and the Trump administration of ignoring the deficit in pursuit of political ends. Indeed found in July that job openings were down 24.7% compared to a year ago, and the University of Chicago's Becker Friedman Institute predicted in June that 42% of the jobs lost through April 25 won't come back, per CNBC. Democrats had hoped to extend the $600 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit passed in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, but the Senate GOP remains extremely divided.

Democrats pointed to an assessment from economist Mark Zandi, who called it a "poor policy choice".

Cutting unemployment insurance by $400 could cost 3.4 million U.S. jobs over the next year, per data from Economic Policy Institute.

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