Republicans propose $1 trillion; Democrats talk about $3 trillion.
WASHINGTON – The US Senate ended the working week without reaching an agreement on extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Talks between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and congressional Democrats have shown no signs of progress in agreeing on a second aid package.
Both sides admit that they are far from agreeing on the final amount.
Republicans in their bill propose to allocate about $ 1 trillion, and Democrats are pushing back on the previously adopted package of $ 3 trillion.
“If our democratic colleagues had not delayed, unemployed Americans would not have faced the complete elimination of this additional aid,” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said at the meeting.
The leader of the democratic minority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer said that the Republican proposal probably doesn’t have enough supporters even within the party.
“Opinions in his Caucus are so divided that, in his own words, 20 people do not want to vote at all,” Schumer said on Thursday. “Now they have finally realized the fact that we are on the edge of a precipice, but it is too late.”
In late March, Congress passed a $ 2.2 trillion package to help companies close and employees lose their jobs.
This package included a weekly supplement to unemployment benefits of $ 600. The allowances expire this weekend, and Congress is unlikely to be able to agree on extending the benefits until the end of July, as planned.
Republicans have proposed cutting allowances from $ 600 to $ 200 a week, with the expectation that Federal aid will eventually be replaced by state-level programs. However, Democrats consider this unacceptable when so many people are still out of employment.