Pelosi blames Trump for $600 unemployment benefits running out after lawmakers fail to reach stimulus agreement

NANCY Pelosi has pointed the finger at Donald Trump for letting the $600 unemployment boost given during the last stimulus package expire.

The House Speaker said the 30 million Americans who are unemployed during the coronavirus health pandemic should blame the president for the delay in a second relief bill.

Nancy Pelosi is part of the negotiations of the stimulus check
AP:Associated Press

“Talk to President Trump. He’s the one who’s standing in the way of that. We’ve been for the $600,” Pelosi said on Sunday.

“They have a $200 proposal, which does not meet the needs of America’s working families, and it’s a condescension, quite frankly, because they’re saying, ‘[They] really don’t need it. They’re just staying home because they make more money at $600,’” she continued, during an interview with Martha Raddatz on ABC’s This Week.

“So the idea that they made a proposal is really not actually factual.”

She added: “This is about putting worker’s first. This [$600] is keeping people out of poverty. It is essential for America’s working families.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “we want to get a deal”
Getty – Pool
Mark Meadows said that Trump’s priority was unemployment
AP:Associated Press

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump was “very concerned” about the expiration of the stimulus package.

“The president is very concerned about the expiration of the unemployment insurance,” Mnuchin said on ABC7 in response to Pelosi’s interview.

“We proposed a one-week extension at $600 so that while we negotiate a longer-term solution, at least all these people don’t lose their money, and I’m surprised that the Democrats won’t agree to that. They are insistent on having this as part of a larger deal.

“[We] understand that unemployment is supposed to be wage replacement, so it should be tied to some percentage of wages. The fact that we had a flat number was only an issue of an emergency,” he added.

Mnuchin said three or four counteroffers to the Democrats’ proposal had been made but would not give any more details.

Pelosi cited a Yale University study which suggested that unemployed people with larger percentage gains in their benefits were no less likely to return to work than those with smaller increases.

She slammed several Republicans who had said the $600 unemployment packet meant individuals would not want to return to work, calling it “disrespectful”.

“They’re subjecting someone who gets $600 to scrutiny that they won’t subject some of the people who get millions of dollars in the PPP,” she added.

On Saturday, Trump’s team said the president wanted an urgent deal on the stimulus package.

Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff, said unemployment and eviction needed to be top priorities.

“We’re still a long ways apart, and I don’t want to suggest a deal is imminent because it is not.

“It needs to be a 24/7 seven days a week commitment to get this done,” Meadows said, after three hours of negotiations yesterday.

Meadows added Trump had been “checking in” on proceedings.

“We’re still a long ways apart, and I don’t want to suggest a deal is imminent because it is not.

“It’s important to not set an unrealistic expectation that we are just a few items away.”

Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, added: “We are here and we want to get a deal.

“We will be speaking to both the president and the staff on a regular basis and we will be back here every day until we solve this.

“There’s things we agree on, there’s things we don’t. We know we need bipartisan support and the president’s support to pass anything.”

On Friday, Trump said the second round of checks were being “held back by the Democrats”.

The president tweeted on Friday: “The Democrats are holding back the $1,200 to $3,400 (family of four) checks that were ready to be sent out!”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the Republicans’ $1trillion coronavirus relief plan on Monday, prompting Americans to ask when they’ll receive their stimulus payments.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin four days in a row to discuss the act.

However, the Senate adjourned on Thursday afternoon and will not return until Monday.

Meadows said on Thursday: “I’m not very optimistic that we will have any kind of an agreement on a comprehensive bill in the near future.”

If lawmakers make the decision before the August 7 recess – and President Donald Trump signs off on the act right away – the next checks could be sent in August.

A CNET model based on the first round of coronavirus relief payments in April, Americans can expect funds to start being released the week of August 24.

However, it could be further delayed if the Senate does not reach a deal by the August 7 recess, meaning negotiations would resume until September 8.


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