Coronavirus stimulus checks: Negotiators finally report progress

Its been almost a week since Senate Republicans introduced the HEALS Act. The negotiations are still ongoing to come up with the final package, and things seemed far apart until Saturday. On Saturday the lawmakers finally reported some progress on the next coronavirus stimulus checks.

Progress on next coronavirus stimulus checks

Amid rising pressure to come up with the help fast, lawmakers reported the much-needed progress on the next bill. The $600-per-week supplemental unemployment benefit officially expired on July 31.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer broke the news of the progress on the next bill. Schumer, who was part of the rare weekend session, said it “was the longest meeting we’ve had and it was more productive than the other meetings.”

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“We’re not close yet, but it was a productive discussion — now each side knows where they’re at,” Schumer said, according to Associated Press.

This would come as a big relief to those waiting for the next stimulus checks as Saturday morning Schumer said they were “not close yet” to a deal.

On Saturday, Schumer along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Talking about the meeting, Pelosi said the discussions were “productive” but noted that “no agreement can be reached yet.”

Pelosi and Schumer suggested that their respective staffs would continue the negotiations on Sunday as well. Also, Pelosi and Schumer would have discussions with Meadows and Mnuchin on Monday again.

Differences still prevail

Meadows, however, sounded less optimistic when talking about the progress on the next coronavirus stimulus checks. He warned reporters that there is still a long way to go before a final deal is reached.

“We’re still a long ways apart and I don’t want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not. But like with any deal, as you make progress I think it’s important to recognize that you’re making progress,” Meadows said.

Yet, comments from Pelosi and Schumer are crucial when it comes to the progress on the coronavirus stimulus checks. Also, Pelosi and Schumer sounded more upbeat on Saturday than they have after earlier meetings.

Talks prior to Saturday yielded little progress with each side reporting wide differences. The major sticking points are extending $600 unemployment benefit, funds to state and local governments, and assistance to renters/homeowners.

GOP’s HEALS Act does extend federal unemployment benefit but only by $200. The Trump administration, however, has agreed to extend $600 in jobless benefit, but only for the short term for now.

Trump, on Friday, also tweeted in favor of extending the $600 payment. The Republicans, however, want to trim jobless benefit so that people don’t make more money in unemployment than by working.

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