Stimulus Talks Drag On—With Little Progress—After Another Week Of Lapsed Unemployment Benefits And Eviction Protections

TOPLINE

One day before a Friday deadline to reach a deal on the next round of stimulus legislation, top policymakers in Washington are facing deep divisions and making little progress on the package. 

KEY FACTS

Though it looks like the GOP may be willing to make some concessions, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday evening that the Trump Administration and top Democrats are still “trillions of dollars apart” on a deal. 

That multi-trillion dollar gulf—Republicans want to keep the new bill under $1 trillion, while the Democratic plan is three times more expensive—has some leaders in the GOP expressing doubt over whether a deal will happen at all. 

Even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that “we’ll certainly be in” next week—meaning that the Senate will stay in session instead of leaving for a scheduled recess—most Senators are headed home anyway on Thursday to await news of a deal, Politico reported Thursday.

President Trump, who along with McConnell has been absent from the negotiating table, doubled down on his threat Wednesday to bypass Congress by using executive orders to address eviction protections, unemployment benefits, and a “term-limited” payroll tax cut suspension.

Crucial quote

“I feel optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but how long that tunnel is remains to be seen,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday evening.  

Big number

5.4 million. That’s how many Americans will be unable to cover their basic expenses this month without the CARES Act’s $600-per-week federal unemployment supplement, according to a new Morning Consult poll. The study’s authors also emphasized that it’s unlikely that these payments discourage workers from returning to their jobs, and that slashing the payments—a major priority for the GOP—probably won’t boost overall employment numbers. “It is unlikely the decrease in [unemployment insurance] benefit payments in August will drive an increase in employment,” the study says.

What to watch for

A critical meeting between Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled for Thursday evening. The meeting could be the determining factor in whether the negotiators have a deal tomorrow—the deadline they imposed for themselves earlier this week—or not. 

Further reading

McConnell Says Senate Will Delay Recess To Negotiate, But Some GOP Leaders Don’t Think A Deal Is Coming (Forbes)

Second Stimulus: Here’s What It Looks Like It Will Include (Forbes)

McConnell: ‘I’m Prepared To Support’ A Coronavirus Stimulus Bill That Includes $600 Unemployment Checks (Forbes)

A New Small Business Relief Proposal—Even Bigger Than The PPP—Could Be Part Of The Next Stimulus Bill (Forbes)

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