Negotiations between Democratic leaders and representatives of U.S. President Donald Trump for a new aid package in the face of the economic effects of the pandemic still face a “long way to go,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said.
“I’m not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very short term,” he said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” program.
Talks involving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin v Meadows have taken on special interest after the expiration of unemployment assistance included in the late March fiscal rescue plan on Friday.
The parties met this Saturday and, according to Meadows, will meet again today.
Among the highlights of the discussions, Mnuchin mentioned the $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments, noting that the Trump Administration is not willing to rescue states that were facing financial problems before the pandemic.
“That’s something we’re not going to do,” the secretary told ABC News’ “This Week,” and said they proposed extending $600 in extraordinary unemployment assistance for another week while they negotiate “a long-term solution.
Mnuchin warned, however, that “there is no doubt that in certain cases” people are being paid more “to stay home than to work.
Asked about unemployment assistance, which two Republican senators proposed to cut to $200 a week in a proposal that sunk Thursday in the Senate, Pelosi defended that the $600 “is essential.
“We are saying three things: support our state or local heroes, a great strategic plan to end the virus, and thirdly, put money in the pockets of working families,” said the Democratic leader, also interviewed by “This Week,” assuring that they are “united” around the $600 aid.
According to the latest data from the Labor Department, more than 17 million Americans are receiving unemployment assistance in the midst of the economic debacle caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The unemployment rate in the United States closed June at 11.1%, after starting the year at 3.5%.