WASHINGTON – The White House and Congressional Democrats blamed each other Sunday morning for the current deadlock in the deliberations over a new stimulus deal to combat the impacts of the coronavirus.
After bright spot Saturday where both sides agreed progress was made, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., placed blame on the current impasse in deliberations on President Donald Trump and Republican leadership.
“Talk to President Trump. He’s the one who is standing in the way of that,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week” regarding weekly federal unemployment benefits expiring. “We have been for the $600, they have a $200 proposal, which does not meet the needs of America’s working families.”
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Pelosi remained steadfast in her desire to pass a larger bill and not take the gradual approach suggested by Republicans and the White House, such as a short-term extension of the unemployment benefit.
“It’s a condescension, quite frankly, because they are saying, ‘They really don’t need it. They are just staying home because they make more money at $600.’ So, the idea that they made a proposal is really not actually factual,” Pelosi said.
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested Sunday in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that the $600 payments, which expired Friday, may have been a disincentive that led to some unemployed Americans being “overpaid” and they want to ensure “there’s the right incentive [to get back to work.]”
He continued that Republicans had “proposed a one-week extension” of the $600 unemployment insurance while they “negotiate a longer-term solution.”
“I’m surprised that the Democrats won’t agree to that. They are insistent on having this as part of a larger deal,” Mnuchin said.
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Democrats rejected a short-term stimulus deal from Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows last weekwith Pelosi condemning Republicans and the Trump administration for taking a “piecemeal” approach to relief as COVID-19 cases continue to surge nationally.
House Democrats passed their version of the next stimulus measure in May. The $3 trillion HEROES Act would have extended the $600 unemployment provision until at least January 2021, arguing it is necessary to help people who have lost their jobs. The proposal was not taken up by the Republican-majority Senate.
Senate Republicans released a $1 trillion counterproposal on Monday, which was criticized by some conservative lawmakers for being misguided and expensive.
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It was likewise denounced by Democrats for not providing enough aid for schools, essential workers, tenants facing eviction, homeowners facing foreclosure, or food stamp recipients. Democrats have also criticized Senate Republicans for waiting to consider additional assistance until the last-minute after they addressed the issue in legislation that passed two months ago.
Pelosi and Schumer are set to continue talks with Mnuchin and Meadows on Monday.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., condemned Republicans for not taking up the HEROES Act in the Senate on Sunday during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union”.
“That’s why we won’t do it,” Clyburn said, emphasizing the Senate has had the Democrat’s legislation for months.
“They’re the ones that are playing games with us,” he added later. “We’re not trying to jerk the American people around.”
Contributing: Jason Lalljee, Nicholas Wu