$600 unemployment benefits expire today with no replacement in sight

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday President Trump'is very focused on unemployment aid and assistance for renters

Both administration officials and the two top congressional Democrats are expected to resume negotiations Friday by phone with a possible in-person meeting over the weekend.

Pelosi charged Republicans with offering a "piecemeal" solution.

'They never have understood the gravity of it, ' she noted.

"That isn't true", Pelosi said.

Referring to the mounting cases and deaths from Covid-19, Pelosi said: "This is a freight train that is picking up steam".

President Trump speaks during a news conference Thursday at the White House.

Republicans have also rejected the Democrats' push to expand food stamp aid, though their proposal included a measure that would double the "three-martini lunch" tax deduction, protect companies whose workers get sick from lawsuits and billions for military projects.

With political pressure rising, talks on a huge coronavirus relief measure resumed on Saturday, focused on restoring a newly expired $600-per-week supplemental unemployment benefit, a fresh $1,200 direct payment to most Americans, and hundreds of billions of dollars in other aid to states, businesses and the poor. A proposal they unveiled earlier this week would cap them at $200 a week.

The second one, introduced by Sen. The benefits would only last for a few months before states would be required to set up their own unemployment programs.

"I respect the office of the presidency, and the president doesn't, and just every single day he degrades the office", she said, adding that "we need to have an election that does not jeopardize the health and well-being of the American people".

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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - speaking simultaneously at podiums on opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue Friday morning - painted a bleak picture of their stalled coronavirus stimulus talks, making clear that they are still a long way from striking a deal.

But Thursday night, Schumer said it was the White House and Republicans who were out of touch.

The Senate adjourned and left town for the weekend but McConnell put a legislative procedure in place that would allow a vote on a compromise package next week.

In mid-May, the Democratic-controlled House passed a US$3 trillion bill that the Republican Senate has ignored.

Pelosi again shot down the idea of a short-term extension of the $600 weekly unemployment benefits Congress approved in March, which expired Friday.

Republicans have argued that businesses haven't been able to rehire workers who now may be taking in more from unemployment benefits than they would from returning to jobs.

Pelosi and McConnell have an extensive history, however.

"What are you going to do in a week?"

Pelosi went on to say, "They're asking about doing something for a week". "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.

Also at issue in the negotiations is an nearly $1 trillion Democratic demand for funding for state and local governments, a second $1,200 direct payment to most American adults, more than $100 billion to help schools reopen and a liability shield measure that is essential to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website.



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