GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is prepared to support extending the $600 enhanced coronavirus unemployment checks that expired last month.
Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats have slowed to a crawl as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused to back down over the amount of unemployment relief on offer.
“I think that the number, the $600, is related more to the unemployment rate. If the unemployment goes down, then that number can go down,” she told CNN over the weekend.
At his weekly Senate Republican leadership press conference, McConnell was asked about Pelosi’s refusal to budge on the newly proposed stimulus package.
“Wherever this thing settles between the president of the United States and his team, who has to sign it into law, and the Democrat, not insignificant minority in the Senate and majority in the House, is something I’m prepared to support,” he said.
“Even if I have some problems with certain parts of it.”
Hundreds of people line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim[/caption]
The stimulus package has stalled leaving many Americans out of the loop[/caption]
Signs instruct unemployment claimants at an unemployment event at Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma[/caption]
A person holds a placard as protesters temporarily block the street to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) house[/caption]
Despite calling it a “crazy policy” back in May, McConnell’s comments appeared to announce a shift in tone towards the package.
“We know this is going to be a negotiated settlement,” McConnell continued. “It’s not going to produce a kumbaya moment like we had back in March in April where everybody voted aye. But the American people in the end need help.”
On Monday it emerged Trump’s administration was debating “uilateral actions” as the coronavirus stimulus bill continued to be stalled.
A senior administration official told Fox News: “As the negotiations continue to progress as a snail’s pace, the administration is considering a number of options that might be available without congressional legislative action.”
It has not been specified what the actions could look like, but it is clear that negotiations are taking longer than hoped.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also told the outlet: “Those that are counting on enhanced unemployment need to be gravely concerned about the lack of progress.
“My recommendation would be for them to call their members of Congress and their senators and ask them why they are not willing to compromise when obviously the White House is willing to compromise.”
Meadows added: “There are two things standing in the way to a deal on enhanced unemployment benefits continuing. One is Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi and the other is a negotiating tactic that puts people at risk.”
The second round of stimulus checks might not come for at least a month if Senate cannot agree a deal by this Friday.
The lawmakers go into recess on August 7 and do not resume until September 8.
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One week ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the Republicans’ $1trillion coronavirus relief plan on Monday, prompting Americans to ask when they’ll receive their stimulus payments.
Meadows said on Thursday: “I’m not very optimistic that we will have any kind of an agreement on a comprehensive bill in the near future.”
McConnell tweeted on Thursday evening: “Democrats are holding up urgent help for struggling people over completely unrelated liberal wish-list items, like massive tax cuts for rich people in blue states.