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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House appears keen to endorse a temporary extension of a $600 per week supplemental unemployment benefit as the popular boost to both the economy and family budgets is about to expire. The idea is a prominent feature of top-level Washington talks on a major election-season COVID-19 response measure.

After late-night talks failed to produce a breakthrough, the two sides took their case to the media Friday morning, with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appearing before reporters on short notice at the exact moment House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared at her weekly news conference.

Meadows accused Democrats of refusing to negotiate, saying President Donald Trump has instructed him to be "aggressive and forward leaning" in trying to extend the supplemental jobless benefit.

The White House on Thursday offered a short-term extension of the $600 weekly unemployment benefit, but Democrats rejected it, saying it needs to be part of a far more sweeping bill that would deliver aid to state and local governments, help for the poor and funding for schools and colleges to address the pandemic. Without action, the unemployment benefit runs out Friday.

"Clearly they did not understand the gravity of the situation," Pelosi said. She said a short-term extension only makes sense if the two sides are close to a deal.

"Why don't we just get the job done," she said.

Then Pelosi offered a tutorial on negotiating.

Republicans in the Senate had been fighting to trim back the $600 jobless benefit in the next coronavirus package, but their resolve weakened with the looming expiration of the popular benefit — and as Trump undercut their position by signaling he wants to keep the full $600 benefit for now.

"We want a temporary extension of enhanced unemployment benefits," Trump said at the White House on Thursday. "This will provide a critical bridge for Americans who lost their jobs to the pandemic through no fault of their own."

The sides agreed to talk again Friday and into the weekend. There continues to be agreement among Washington's top power players that Congress must pass further relief in the coming days and weeks.

"Do we want to continue to come to an agreement? Absolutely," said top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer. "But it's got to meet the gravity of the problem."

Trump is eager for another round of COVID relief, and it's also a priority for GOP allies like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as Pelosi and Schumer. Democrats hold a strong negotiating hand — exploiting GOP divisions over whether more aid is even needed — and they are expected to deliver a necessary trove of votes.

(8) comments

baydog1990

More tourist lice on the way! These clowns are enjoying an extended Federal holiday on our dime. Convert 600.00 a week to food stamps only.

stinky stew

Me thinks Nancy is HOT. Would love to take her out for dinner- burger king perhaps?

JohnQPublic

Pathetic libs targeting commenters with lame fake accounts because they're "facts" are just propaganda. Sad!

@the real JohnQPublic

Every month that we do not have an economic recovery package, 500 million Americans lose their jobs.

The cupboard is bare. There is no more cuts to make.

We have to pass the bill for you to find out what’s in it.”

In terms of the bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs that they are giving to workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic … I think it’s insignificant.

JohnQPublic

Okay, so you're wondering why Dems won't bite on a "short term" extension of gravy?

It's timed to end after the November elections. Get it? After that, the GOP can move back to Full-Obstruction Mode.

@the real JohnQPublic

That's funny, you're impersonating me. Good one!

HARDWORKINGCITIZEN

How many of those people getting that extra $600 do you think are using it on rent? My guess is not very many. So what happens when the deadline comes for renters to start evicting. Do we pass another bill to pay their mortgage or rent for them? It's funny how all these people are considered non-essential that are getting this benefit, but the essential workers still working don't get anything.

JohnQPublic

I absolutely agree that people working during this de$erve some love. They will get another stimulus check, probably.

As for the handouts, it's a sad fact that nearly 80% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. If that check goes away, well . . . . Now, the economy was in recession before C19, and you google GDP you'll see we've had a very serious contraction. When this happens conventional economists recommend getting money into people's hands so that they afford to support struggling businesses, and keep those businesses from putting more people out of work . . . it becomes a spiral that's more economically damaging in the long run than propping up the economy now.

Nobody likes this, but they really won't like a long-term economic depression. There are estimates that the world economy over the next two years will lose the equivalent of a meteor wiping out Japan.

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