House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained ongoing negotiations over a forthcoming stimulus package.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday appeared on ABC News’ “This Week” and detailed some of the ongoing negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over a forthcoming coronavirus relief package.

Republicans and Democrats have hit a wall over the since-expired $600 weekly boost to federal unemployment benefits, which was part of the $2 trillion CARES Act passed in March.

Republicans, including President Trump, have said they don’t plan to extend the initial boost because they believe it “paid people to stay home.” 

Mnuchin said Republicans had offered a one-week extension of the $600 per week increase to federal unemployment benefits but said Democrats are more focused on including that as part of a longterm solution. 

Pelosi blamed the president for the continued negotiations and said the GOP had offered a $200 weekly boost that “does not meet the needs of America’s working families.” 

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Democrats and Republicans are still stuck in negotiations over a forthcoming coronavirus relief stimulus package and continue to clash over how to extend a weekly boost to federal unemployment benefits that ended at the end of last month.

During appearances on ABC News’ “This Week,” both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and the Trump-appointed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said discussions about extending the $600 weekly boost to federal unemployment benefits, which was passed in March as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, are at the center of their ongoing negotiations. 

“He’s the one who is standing in the way of that,” the House speaker said Sunday of President Trump. “We have been for the $600. They have a $200 proposal, which does not meet the needs of America’s working families.”

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said last week that the president didn’t support continuing the expanded $600 per week federal benefit, which was enacted in March and expired at the end of July, because it “paid people to stay home.” In some cases, Americans were earning more money under the expanded federal benefit than they were at their previous jobs.

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“The $600 is essential,” Pelosi said. “It’s essential for America’s working families. And, again, to condescend, to disrespect their motivation is so amazing how insistent the Republicans are about working family and their $600 and how cavalier they are about other money that is going out”

 

Multiple people who spoke with Business Insider’s Rhea Mahbubani expressed concerns about making ends meet now that the $600 boost had ended.

But Mnuchin told “This Week” moderator Martha Raddatz that Democrats have rejected GOP attempts to temporarily extend the unemployment boost by one week while the parties continue their negotiations.

“We proposed a one-week extension at $600 so that while we negotiate a longer-term solution, at least all those people don’t lose their money, and I’m surprised that the Democrats won’t agree to that,” Mnuchin said. “They are insistent on having this as part of a larger deal.”

Mnuchin said Sunday that he wouldn’t elaborate on specifics of their negotiations with Democrats, but said that he and Meadows had so far made “three or four different offers that deal with the enhanced unemployment.” 

 

“I think on the concept, we absolutely agree on enhanced unemployment,” he added. “We want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid and we want to make sure there’s the right incentives.”

As Raddatz noted, economists at Yale University found no evidence that the $600 weekly jobless benefits Congress reduced employment. Mnuchin retorted that he attended Yale but didn’t agree with that assessment. 

Both Pelosi and Mnuchin said the Sunday negotiations were their most productive yet, ABC News reported, though Pelosi said she couldn’t provide a timeline for when she anticipated the parties would reach an agreement.

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