Republicans say the $600 weekly payment is so generous it provides a disincentive for people to return to work.
The White House quickly abandoned it and began pushing for a short-term fix for the unemployment benefits, perhaps packaged with a few other provisions. He added, "The Do Nothing Democrats are more interested in playing politics than in helping our deserving people".
"I think the Democrats are willing to allow the enhanced unemployment to expire, they've made that very clear, not once, not twice, but three times, and so I'm not very optimistic on anybody who's counting on enhanced unemployment to have any relief anytime soon", he said.
Congress might make payments retroactive once a deal is reached, but at minimum the delay is expected to cause anxiety for millions of Americans.
In a meeting on Thursday night between top White House officials and congressional Democratic leaders, negotiations focused on an extension of the US$600 per week in federal unemployment benefits, which Americans who lost jobs because of the health crisis have been receiving in addition to state jobless payments. Pelosi rejected it, saying the issue needs to be addressed as 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. "We want a temporary extension of enhanced unemployment benefits", he said.
Democrats insist any such approach is insufficient for the need in the country and the fragile state of the economy, which could suffer overall from the evaporation of the benefits that have helped newly unemployed workers pay rent and buy groceries.
Congress has yet to come to an agreement for extending or replacing the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit, which paid its final benefit for the week ending July 25.
Schumer continued his daily fusillade against McConnell and Republicans controlling the Senate, noting that McConnell "refuses to go in the room" and join the talks in person, instead transferring ownership of the talks to Meadows, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been a key architect of previous accords.
"They won't engage - period", McConnell said on the Senate floor. It would have extended the $600 employment insurance.
Both sides say the talks have not produced much progress, but they could be nearing a critical phase over the weekend and into next week. "They don't even have the votes for it in the Senate". The pending COVID-19 rescue bill, the fifth since the pandemic has struck, is likely the last one before the November election. But as the pandemic surged back over the summer - and as fractures inside the GOP have eroded the party's negotiating position - Republicans displayed some greater flexibility.
Meadows played a role in killing an increase in food aid during talks on a $2 trillion relief bill in March, but Democrats are pressing hard for a boost in food stamp benefits. Debbie Stabenow of MI, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. A one-week extension is good if you have a bill and you're working it out - the details, the writing of it, legislative counsel. that's what a one-week extension is about.