Democrats note progress in negotiations with the White House

The White House and Democratic leaders in Congress are trying to reach an agreement on another package of economic measures.

Representatives of the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress plan to meet again after both sides reported some progress in reaching an agreement on a new package of economic assistance in connection with the coronavirus.

“We found an understanding of five or six issues. There’s still a lot to do. And we don’t even agree with these five or six issues, but at least they [Republicans] understand the needs,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters.

Along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Schumer will meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Both sides can’t agree on the size of the proposed aid package: Democrats are calling for $ 3.4 trillion in spending, and Republicans want to limit aid to $ 1 trillion.

Among the issues under discussion are another round of incentive payments, assistance to homeowners in preventing evictions, assistance to the Postal service, and a solution to the issue of Federal unemployment payments of $ 600 a week, which expired last week.

Republican leaders have offered to accept a smaller aid package now, and leave negotiations on other items for later. Democrats rejected this approach, arguing that the Federal government should take even greater action to meet economic challenges.

The White House criticized Democrats for blocking the passage of a short-term bill on Friday that would have extended unemployment benefits for seven days, giving congressional leaders more time to negotiate.

But Democrats know they are in a better negotiating position since the Senate’s Republican leadership needs their votes to pass the bill.