Lawmakers continued to make progress toward a coronavirus relief package after negotiations resumed on Aug. 3.
In a meeting that lasted approximately two hours, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed how they would address the economic hardships facing the United States, such as the increasing unemployment rate.
“We are really getting an understanding of each side’s position. And we’re making some progress on certain issues moving closer together,” Schumer said. “There are a lot of issues that are still outstanding. But I think there is a desire to get something done as soon as we can."
The relief bill proposed by the Democrats will cost the federal government $3 trillion as opposed to the Republicans’ proposed $1 trillion measure.
Despite ongoing negotiations, Democrats and Republicans are unable to agree whether or not to extend the unemployment benefits that expired at the end of July.
Failure to extend such benefits would leave “roughly 30 million Americans without an extra $600 per week in jobless assistance.” Republican lawmakers, however, argue that the money would discourage jobless Americans from returning to work, CBS News reported.
The White House is focused more on unemployment benefits and eviction relief, Meadows told CBS News. Conversely, Democratic leaders believe that the White House’s proposed solution will only fix problems in the short term. Democrats hope to pass a measure that deals with the many issues that stem from the pandemic.
Additionally, President Donald Trump said he is considering a continuation on the suspension of student loan payments; however, he was unclear as to how much longer the suspension would last.
Trump also said that if Congress continues to struggle with a coronavirus relief bill, he will consider executive action.
"They're not interested in the people, they're not interested in unemployment. They're not interested in evictions -- which is a big deal. The evictions -- they want to evict a lot of people," Trump said to ABC News. "They're going to be evicted. But I'm going to stop it, because I'll do it myself if I have to. I have a lot of powers with respect to executive orders and we are looking at that very seriously right now."
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