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White House appears to make concessions on unemployment benefit offer in coronavirus relief talks

  • August 05, 2020

Democrats and Republicans have finally started to yield as painstaking coronavirus relief talks drag into their 10th day, as the White House appeared to make concessions in the bargaining over extended unemployment benefits. 

Even so, a range of issues remained unresolved Wednesday as the sides belatedly try to stave off economic ruin for millions of Americans and give a jolt to an overburdened health-care system. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows plan to meet about pandemic aid Wednesday afternoon. It follows a Tuesday huddle during which both parties made “concessions,” according to Schumer. 

The Trump administration team offered to extend extra federal unemployment insurance into December at $400 per week, NBC News and Politico reported. The White House had floated keeping the previous $600 a week benefit for a week while negotiators hashed out a broader deal. Senate Republicans have proposed a plan that would set the insurance at $200 per week through September, then change the benefit to 70% wage replacement.

Mnuchin and Meadows also offered to extend a moratorium on evictions from federally backed housing into December, the news outlets said. Democrats cut their request for U.S. Postal Service funding to $10 billion from $25 billion, according to the reports. 

Spokespeople for the Democratic leaders and Trump administration officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reported proposals. The concessions would mark some of the first progress on seemingly intractable issues since the GOP last week released its counteroffer to a House Democratic plan.

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