Democrats, White House still deadlocked on coronavirus bill

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Top Democrats in Congress are not close to a deal with the White House to pump more money into the U.S. economy to reduce the heavy toll from the coronavirus, the two sides said on Saturday, after the expiration of a vital lifeline for millions of unemployed Americans.“It was the longest meeting we have had and it was more productive than the other meetings,” said Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “There are many issues that are still very much unresolved. ”

Schumer made the remarks after he and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi concluded a three-hour meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows , at the Capitol, Saturday.

“We are still very far from each other and I do not want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not,” Mnuchin told reporters, adding “that there is still substantial differences but we have made good progress ”.

Officials will meet again on Monday and their staff will meet on Sunday, Schumer said.

In recent months, Congress has been unable to come to an agreement on an next round of economic relief following a pandemic that has killed more than 150,000 Americans and triggered the most severe economic collapse since Great Depression.

In a Thursday night meeting between senior White House officials and Democratic Congressional leaders, negotiations focused on an extension of $ 600 a week in federal unemployment benefits, which Americans who have lost their jobs due to the health crisis received in addition to unemployment payments from the state. .

Pelosi said on Friday she had rejected the offer by Republican President Donald Trump’s administration to continue the payments of $ 600 for an additional week, saying she wanted a more comprehensive deal.

In May, the House passed a $ 3 trillion deal covering a wide range of coronavirus responses, including more money for testing, elections, and support for financially struggling state and local governments.

“There is clearly a will on their part to do a whole package,” Mnuchin told reporters. “We made it clear that we were prepared to deal with short-term issues, to move quickly and come back to more important issues. We are therefore at an impasse on this matter. “

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