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Lawmakers Are Locked in COVID-19 Aid Talks

'It was more productive than the other meetings': Sen. Chuck Schumer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 1, 2020 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Lawmakers participating in rare weekend talks on a huge coronavirus relief measure reported progress on Saturday, as political pressure mounts to restore a newly expired $600-per-week supplemental unemployment benefit and send funding to help schools reopen, the AP reports. "This was the longest meeting we had and it was more productive than the other meetings," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). "We're not close yet, but it was a productive discussion—now each side knows where they're at." Schumer spoke alongside Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) after meeting for three hours with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The Democrats, President Trump, and top Republicans like Mitch McConnell appear eager for an agreement.

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But perhaps one half of Senate Republicans, mostly conservatives and those not facing difficult races this fall, are likely to oppose any deal. Prior talks yielded little progress. The administration is willing to extend the $600 jobless benefit, at least in the short term, but is balking at other Democratic demands like aid for state and local governments, food stamp increases, and assistance to renters and homeowners. Mnuchin said restoring the $600 supplemental jobless benefit is critically important to Trump. "We're still a long ways apart and I don't want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not," Meadows said afterward. "There are still substantial differences, but we did make good progress." Click for the full story.

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