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White House Pushes Short-Term Deal On Unemployment, Evictions

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The Trump administration has reiterated its support for a short-term extension on federal unemployment benefits, as well as a moratorium on evictions. Unemployment benefits will lapse at the end of the month, while the federal moratorium on evictions expired on July 24.

On Wednesday, President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pushed for the extensions, as chances of a bipartisan deal before a $600 weekly unemployment boost range between slim and none.

In remarks outside of the White House, Trump and Mnuchin acknowledged that the administration and Democrats remain far apart on any kind of deal, with the Senate GOP still divided over its own $1 trillion-plus opening bid. But Trump emphasized that halting evictions — and keeping people in their homes amid a global pandemic — should be a priority. -Politico

"We ought to work on the evictions so that people don't get evicted," said Trump. "You work on the payments for the people, and the rest of it we're so far apart we don't care. We really don't care."

Notably, GOP Senators excluded a new moratorium on evictions in their new, $1 trillion pandemic stimulus proposal, while House Democrats' $3.4 trillion bill would extend protection on evictions and foreclosures for up to one year.

Democrats have outright rejected a short-term solution - preferring a 'gun to the head' approach, while accusing Republicans of stalling talks. That said, an extension has also faced opposition from some Republicans, who have argued that it would extend an expensive benefit they already dislike.

Senate Republicans did show some openness to the idea of a short-term fix Wednesday. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said that if it's not clear a deal can be reached by the end of next week, "we'll have to go to plan B." Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) conceded that a short-term deal "may be what we have to do until we figure out the final outlines of a more permanent approach." -Politico

According to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, it's unlikely there will be any kind of deal on the larger package by the end of this week.

"I don't see any way to get a comprehensive deal by the end of this month and it's why the president is looking to extend unemployment benefits in some fashion as well as eviction protection," he told Politico, adding "Because we are way too far apart to reach a deal by the end of the month."

The $600 weekly benefit was passed in March as part of the CARES Act, which included the moratorium on evictions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also rejected what she described as a "piecemeal" approach, telling reporters on Wednesday that a short-term extension is totally off the table.

"Nothing," she said. "Not even 'not much' – nothing."

Democrats put forward their own bill in May to halt evictions and keep the additional $600 in benefits through the end of the year. But Republicans, who released their own proposal Monday, argue that the extra unemployment aid disincentivizes work. Instead, the Senate GOP is pushing to reduce that extra $600 to a temporary, flat payment of $200 for 60 days to allow state systems to then offer a 70 percent wage replacement. -Politico

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "seemed not to care in the least about a lapse in benefits," according to Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, adding "And that is where things are now."

McConnell, meanwhile, blamed Pelosi in a blistering speech from the Senate Floor for her refusal to negotiate on the unemployment aid – saying that the House "will not let a package go forward unless we continue paying people more not to work."

"When it’s time to actually make a law, Democrats would rather keep political issues alive than find a bipartisan way to resolve them," said McConnell – to which Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) retorted "the fact that Leader McConnell would even consider the idea that a political party might deny support for the American people in order to help win an election says more about the Republican leader than anybody else."


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