White House, lawmakers tangle over scope of new coronavirus legislation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Trump Administration officials and Democratic Congress leaders will try on Wednesday to narrow their serious differences regarding a coronavirus support law without the guarantee that they can compromise before doing some work Unemployment to end at the end of this week.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows attend a meeting to discuss additional coronavirus aid legislation at the White House Oval Office in Washington, USA, on July 20, 2020 . REUTERS / Leah Millis

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows were expected to resume negotiations with Congress's two high-ranking Democrats – Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority President Chuck Schumer.

A one-hour meeting of the four was interrupted late Tuesday afternoon with no signs of progress.

"I don't know I would call it an approximation of a deal," Meadows told reporters.

Republican Senate leaders are pushing around $ 1 trillion ($ 771 billion) for new aid, in addition to more than $ 3 trillion that has come into force since the beginning of this year. Democrats see a much greater need as they support $ 3 trillion in new spending.

At the end of March, Washington passed a far-reaching relief bill that included $ 600 per week for "improved" unemployment benefits. The goal was to rescue millions of US workers who had suddenly lost their jobs due to coronavirus pandemic outages. This benefit expires on Friday.

Democrats are pushing to extend the $ 600 for another month. Republicans, arguing that this is preventing some workers who have had low-paying jobs from looking for work, have proposed temporarily lowering the federal payment to $ 200 a week, in addition to state unemployment benefits.

Senator John Thune, Republican of Senate No. 2, warned that a deal is unlikely to take shape overnight.

Thune said some in his party "don't think we are likely to have anything to do at this point" in response to the corona virus.

In addition to unemployment benefits, lawmakers are also arguing over a republican plan to prevent liability lawsuits against companies and schools that reopened during the pandemic.

Democrats want to help state and local governments avoid massive layoffs as their earnings decline due to the economic slowdown.

A further 1,227 US corona virus-related deaths were recorded on Tuesday. This is the highest one-day increase since May, according to Reuters. The United States has lost nearly 150,000 people since the virus was first discovered in the country in January, the highest number in the world.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell, David Lawder and David Morgan; Writing by Richard Cowan; Edited by Peter Cooney

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