Democratic and Republican leaders left their Friday meeting without an agreement—or much progress—on a broad stimulus bill, which would include a second round of stimulus checks to help Americans cope with the pandemic.
“It was a disappointing meeting. We reiterated in very strong terms our offer: We come down $1 trillion from our top number, which was $3.4 trillion, and they go up $1 trillion from their top number, which was $1 trillion. And that way we could begin to meet in the middle,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Friday.
Schumer told reporters that White House officials rejected that offer.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin walked out of the Friday meeting and told reporters the two parties are closer on a number of issues, including for schools. But disagreements remain on state and local funding and enhanced unemployment benefits. The latter, which was $600 per week, expired the week ending July 25.
“We have asked them for a specific comprise on state and local, and specific compromise on [enhanced] unemployment. We have not received proposals [from Democratic leaders] on that,” Mnuchin told reporters Friday. “I think if we can reach an agreement on state and local and [enhanced] unemployment, we will reach an overall deal. If we can’t, we can’t.”
The White House, Senate Republicans and House Democrats all support sending another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans.
It’s unclear if the two parties can come to an agreement by the end of Friday—which marks the Republican self-imposed deadline. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Wednesday a stimulus deal would become much less likely to pass at all if Republicans and Democrats don’t make progress or agree to a deal by the end of the week.
Data released Friday also showed that the unemployment rate dropped from 11.1% in June to 10.2% in July, soundly beating consensus estimates. However, it means 16.4 million Americans are still out of work—three times the jobless levels pre-COVID-19. A jobless rate remaining above double-digits could pressure Congress to make a deal.