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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged Senate Republicans on the moment they provided additional relief to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. (30 July)

Domestic AP

WASHINGTON – Discussions over another stimulus package erupted on Friday as Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for their inability to reach an agreement just hours before the $ 600 unemployment benefit. every week for Americans officially ends.

At the press conferences announced, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows brought in Democrats for denying a short-term deal to continue the benefit of boosted unemployment for a week, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi railed against Republicans and the Trump administration for trying to take a piece. an approach to help Americans as COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationally.

“What we’re seeing is politics as usual from Democrats up on Capitol Hill,” Meadows said from the White House podium. “Democrats believe they have all the cards on their side, and they are willing to play those cards at the expense of those who are hurting.”

Pelosi, D-Calif., Criticized Republicans for waiting months before trying to take another emergency package, noting the surge of coronavirus cases and high unemployment.

“They don’t understand the gravity of the situation,” Republicans said. “We don’t have shared values. That’s the way it is.”

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She argued that an agreement to extend the unemployment benefit by just one week would be significant if an almost larger bill was worked out, noting the time it would take for the measure to pass and for the money to reach families. . Pelosi also said the Senate, which has remained divided on unemployment, is unlikely to have the votes to approve the continuation of the $ 600-a-week benefit, which boosts the state’s benefits to an average. nationally about $ 370 a week.

Although the back and forth attacks show a sign of agreement is still a long way off, both Meadows and Pelosi have said they plan to meet again to continue talks.

Friday’s news conferences set aside a week full of negotiations on another stimulus bill, talks that all ceased as Republicans are divided on what should be included in the measure and Democrats remain. against a smaller bill to keep unemployment out for a short period.

On Thursday, Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., for a lengthy meeting where both sides tried to come to terms. agreement before millions saw their unemployment benefits back significantly.

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Meadows said Democrats were given four separate bids during the day but denied them all.

“We are going in the wrong direction. We are going in the wrong direction because of partisan politics. It’s very disappointing,” Meadows said. “It’s amazing that when we talk about compassion and take care of those who are really in need, that a temporary solution to make sure that unemployment, enhanced unemployment is still set aside not once but for many times.”

House of Democrats passed their version of the next stimulus package in May, a $ 3 trillion measure that had extended the $ 600 increase in weekly unemployment compensation since less in January. The proposal was not taken by the Senate held by the Republic.

Democrats, including Pelosi, responded by taking unemployment assistance as a separate measure, arguing that Republicans should come to the greatest agreement on a number of urgent policy points, including more funding for local governments. and state. The House Democrats ’bill included not only extending unemployment but also another cycle of $ 1,200 stimulus checks and increased funding for state and local governments.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have had trouble negotiating their demands as the conference remains divided over what to include in the next stimulus package. Some have even questioned the need for another draft. The divisions remained even after Republicans unveiled their own proposal this week that included a $ 1,200 stimulus check, funding for schools and small businesses, and back unemployment benefits. $ 200 a week.

Many Republicans have spent weeks against the $ 600 unemployment benefit, which is paid to Americans in addition to state claims. They argue that this should be replaced or replaced by an incentive to work for the desire to start the economy and surpass the closed businesses for redundant workers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began the process on Thursday for the Senate to take a measure that could address unemployment, meaning a boost in unemployment could be approved by the chamber early on. next week, although currently the House is not expected to approve such a proposal.

While unemployment benefits remained a point of contention, the two sides managed to spread heads on a number of proposals, including Republican demands to protect companies from coronavirus-related lawsuits and Democratic requirements that state and local governments are given more funding to make up for their post-pandemic budgets.

But both sides appeared mostly against the administration’s request for $ 377 million to modernize the West Wing plus more than $ 1 billion to maintain the FBI’s new headquarters in Washington. DC

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the demands. Pointing out that previous koronavirus relief accounts had “many other things” unrelated to the pandemic, McEnany insisted that FBI funding “is not a red line for us.”

“It was part of the initial draft but it is certainly not a red line priority,” she said.

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