“Those four different offers were actually rejected, but more importantly than they were not even opposed to a proposal,” Meadows told a news conference at the White House. “Democrats are certainly ready today to let some of the American citizens who are fighting harder under this pandemic go unprotected.”
Pelosi was equally pessimistic at her weekly press conference Friday, scolding Republicans for refusing to give anything in negotiations and thus making the prospects of a deal seem a distant possibility.
“We do not have common values, this is how it happens. It is not noise, it is standing on our land,”; Pelosi told reporters. “We recognize the importance of the situation, they do not.”
The partisan ban comes as a $ 600 weekly federal benefit to unemployed Americans from the March CARES Act will expire at midnight. Democrats are pushing for a full benefit extension for next year, but Senate Republicans argue the $ 600 increase provides a discouragement for Americans who do not work back to work and want to see it fixed in any other aid package. .
However, the need has only become more urgent. The coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., with about 1,000 Americans dying a day from the virus as the economy suffered its worst quarterly contractions.
In a sign of how pessimistic Democratic leaders are soon reaching an agreement, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Announced Friday that members would be sent home with a 24-hour notice to return in August. to vote on a relief package after an agreement is reached.
But Hoyer did not say when that vote could take place – offering an unstable start to what would normally be the start of a five-week break in August for lawmakers.
“We will not start the work period in the August district until we have passed the appropriate COVID-19 facilitation to meet the current health and economic crisis,” Hoyer announced on the House floor.
Republicans on Thursday offered to extend the $ 600 increase for a week more, but Democrats rejected that offer. Pelosi said on Friday the proposal did not make sense given how far the two sides are in a broader bill. Typically, congressional negotiators will agree to a one-week extension of expired programs to allow time for a larger deal to work in both the House and Senate.
But in this case, as Pelosi said, there is no greater relief agreement. Rather, both sides remain far behind on some critical issues, including unemployment benefits, state and local funding, federal food aid, and money to support poor postal service and election security.
“Are we going to do anything in a week?” Tha Pelosi. “First of all, they do not even have votes for him in the Senate. Let ‘s be realistic about who says what.”
Meadows and Mnuchin met with Pelosi and Schumer on Thursday night for more than two hours, but the meeting – the fourth this week – once again made no progress. Pelosi and Schumer will speak with Meadows and Mnuchin by phone on Friday and will meet in person on Saturday.
The dispute over the extension of unemployment benefits comes after two weeks of partisan fighting, as well as a split within the Republican party over how to access the next coronavirus relief package. The White House has introduced an interim bill that would address unemployment and evictions, but Pelosi and Schumer argue they do not want a “small” approach.
“It surprises me that when we talk about compassion and caring for those who really need a temporary solution to make sure that rising unemployment continues it is not rejected once, but many times,” Meadows said. “Democrats believe they have all the cards on their side and they are willing to play those cards at the expense of those who hurt.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Is also trying to increase pressure on Senate Democrats and took procedural steps Thursday that would allow double voting next week in a series of proposals.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Tried to pass his proposal Thursday, which would renew federal unemployment payments at 66 percent of lost wages, or $ 200 a week. But Schumer turned it down and instead offered the $ 3 trillion Heroes Act, which Republicans have dismissed as a Democratic wish list.