Meadows and Mnuchin have rare weekend on the hill amid coronavirus relief talks

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“We want to make sure that we can extend the UI but having the technical solution and not paying people more to stay at home is obviously a ridiculous concept,” Mnuchin said after the meeting. “We were always on the same wavelength, it’s a technical solution. We now believe that states will be able to switch to this new system. “

“There was a lot more writing about disagreements than disagreements,” Meadows added. ” So I I think it’s important to note that this made the headlines, but it wasn’t really based on real facts in terms of the real discussions going on.

The current March CARES law unemployment benefit increase of $ 600 begins to expire this weekend.

The presence of two senior administration officials in the Capitol on a Saturday afternoon without senators was not typical. Mnuchin and Meadows will also make media appearances on Sunday.

The president and his administration are pushing for an increase in unemployment benefits that would represent 70% of workers’ income. GOP sources said the White House is raising new demands under the proposal, including manufacturing incentives.

“We’re going through a number of sections to make sure the details match our understanding of what should be there, checking out some of the manufacturing incentives to make sure we can support American jobs,” Meadows said. before the meeting.

The White House insists it wants to strike a deal with Democrats on another major coronavirus package. But so far there has been little sense of urgency.

Asked about comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she would not take a “piecemeal” approach to the package, Meadows said the decision would rest with her and McConnell.

“If she’s not willing to put it back together, I think there will be a number of people who could potentially be hurt because of this decision which is based on nothing but her personal negotiating tactics.” Meadows said.

Mnuchin spoke with Pelosi (D-Calif) on Friday, but the two sides are far from reaching an agreement. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) are insisting on a full extension of the $ 600 unemployment benefit increase allocated in the March Cares Act until next year. They are also seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in public and local aid.

The White House and McConnell, however, are pushing for a $ 1 trillion package. Mnuchin said on Saturday they had already agreed to Pelosi’s $ 100 billion request for schools, which was included in the Heroes Act passed by the House in May.

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