Dems Rejects GOP’s Short-Term Fix for Unemployment
The Heroes Act was passed by the House and sent to Mitch McConnell’s desk ten weeks ago, but Republicans seemed to forget all about that as they offered a short-term fix for a long-term problem instead in a meeting late Thursday night.
In late-night negotiations with congressional Democrats on Thursday, White House officials offered a one week extension of the popular unemployment benefit paying out-of-work Americans $600 per week, a CARES Act provision that formally expires Friday. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected the offer, arguing that Republicans don’t understand that the situation requires a solution that is larger in scope.
“We had a long discussion and we just don’t think they understand the gravity of the problem,” Schumer told reporters after he and Pelosi met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell tweeted that “Americans need help now”, but Pelosi was quick to point out just how long he’s let that bill sit.
Republicans tried several ways to extend unemployment benefits. Democrats blocked them all. They're refusing any more COVID relief for anyone unless they get a massive tax cut for rich people in blue states.
The country can’t afford this cynicism. Americans need help now.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) July 31, 2020
“I think they understand that we have to have a bill, but they just don’t realize how big it has to be,” Pelosi told reporters. She said that a one-week extension of the unemployment benefits would be “worthless,” since people in many states have already stopped receiving the additional $600 bonus.
Even if Congress did pass a short-term extension, there could be a gap of a few weeks until unemployed workers receive that benefit, unemployment experts say. States will need to reprogram their computers to input the new dates for the extra pay.
The next in-person meeting between the four will be Saturday at 9 a.m.