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White House signals support for $600 jobless benefit

SeattlePI.com Friday, 31 July 2020 ()
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.

“Democrats have made zero offers over the last three days,” said Meadows, an inexperienced negotiator. He said Democrats are “willing to play politics" and are acting like they “hold all the cards.”

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.

“There are two things to remember. One is the person you’re negotiating with has to want something” for the American...
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Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Published
News video: Deep divide on aid bill, jobless benefit nears end

Deep divide on aid bill, jobless benefit nears end 01:54

[NFA] U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said talks with the White House on a new coronavirus aid bill were not yet on a path toward reaching a deal on Friday, hours before the expiration of a federal unemployment benefit that has been an essential lifeline for millions of Americans....

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