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Impasse on coronavirus relief bill deepens as benefits start to run out

Sarah D. Wire and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Other disputes include whether businesses and schools would be protected from liability if customers and employees get sick and who should receive another $1,200 direct check from the government. Even the scope of the bill is up in the air, with Republicans saying a maximum of $1 trillion is necessary, and Democrats proposing north of $3 trillion.

With chances of a quick compromise dimming, Republicans have proposed a short-term extension for some unemployment benefits. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin told reporters after a lengthy meeting Thursday with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., that he and Meadows offered Democrats several short-term proposals to extend benefits while negotiations over a large, more complex bill continue, but were rejected.

"I think the Democrats are willing to allow the enhanced unemployment to expire, they've made that very clear, not once, not twice, but three times, and so I'm not very optimistic on anybody who's counting on enhanced unemployment to have any relief anytime soon," he said.

Pelosi said that the negotiations are so far apart that a one-week extension wasn't worthwhile.

"What is a one-week extension good for? A one-week extension is good if you have a bill and you're working it out -- the details, the writing of it," she told reporters late Thursday. "It's worthless unless you are using it for this purpose."

In most states, including California, the benefits stopped July 25 because most state unemployment systems operate on a weekly basis and couldn't extend the benefit into the final, partial week of July.

 

Pelosi, Schumer, Mnuchin and Meadows are expected to continue meeting over the weekend.

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