Democrats, Trump Aids Resume Talks For Coronavirus Relief Bill As Unemployment Benefit Ends

Congressional Democrats and aides to President Donald Trump resumed discussions Saturday regarding the potential for a new stimulus package to boost the economy, now that the $600 in enhanced weekly unemployment benefits that millions of Americans received during the coronavirus pandemic has expired.

Democrats and Republicans have been unable to come to a new agreement over the past few months as coronavirus cases continue to surge throughout the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated Thursday that the unemployment rate was up to 11.6%, while the Labor Department reported that unemployment claims were up to more than 1.43 million.

“We’re just hopeful that they’re willing really to negotiate today, if they are, we’re prepared to make a deal on behalf of the American people,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said as he entered the office of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi Saturday morning, according to CNN.

Pelosi said in a news conference Friday that she rejected an offer by Trump’s administration to continue the $600 payments for one more week because they were not on the path toward a deal. Meadows said the Trump administration made at least four offers to temporarily extend the unemployment payments.

“No, let’s sit down and get this done. Let’s recognize people need $600,” Pelosi said Friday, via CNBC. “We don’t have shared values. That’s just the way it is.”

The United States has averaged nearly 64,000 coronavirus cases per day over the last week, according to data from The New York Times. One month ago, fewer than 44,000 cases were being diagnosed per day.