It’s been almost a week since the $600 federal unemployment benefits expired. The lawmakers, however, are yet to reach a deal on the next coronavirus package. But, if the recent comments from the negotiators are anything to go by, then we may have a coronavirus stimulus deal this week.
After more than a week of negotiations, Democrats and the White House negotiators are now suggesting a coronavirus stimulus deal by the end of the week. If the deal is reached this week, then the package could be approved as early as next week.
This would come as good news for millions of Americans who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is important that a coronavirus stimulus deal is reached this week. The Senate is scheduled to go on a month-long break after August 7.
The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have been meeting almost daily since the introduction of the HEALS Act last week.
Both sides now agree on a series of concessions and progress on the deal. However, they also acknowledge that there are still a few differences between the two sides.
“They made some concessions, which we appreciated. We made some concessions, which they appreciated. We're still far away on a lot of the important issues," Schumer told reporters after the meeting yesterday.
Negotiators agree on a timeline
Mnuchin and Meadows said they had made new proposals to Democrats on extending eviction protections and the unemployment benefits. Both – eviction protections and unemployment benefits – have been the sticking points in the negotiations so far. The $600 per week in unemployment benefit officially expired on Friday.
Meadows said that though there are many unresolved issues, they are moving in the right direction. "Probably the most productive meeting we've had,” Meadows said after the meeting.
Mnuchin sounded more optimistic and suggested that a coronavirus deal could be passed next week. He also admitted that both sides differ on several points, but "we did try to agree to set a timeline that we're going to try to reach an overall agreement, if we can get one, by the end of this week, so that the legislation could be then passed next week."
Pelosi made similar comments yesterday as well. In a PBS interview, she said their plan is to reach an agreement by the end of this week. "We have to have an agreement, and we will have an agreement," Pelosi said.
President Donald Trump has also shown urgency to finalize the next coronavirus stimulus bill. Recently, Trump said he is considering executive action if no deal is reached with Congress. Trump told reports that he might act unilaterally on the housing evictions and a payroll tax cut. However, it is not clear if Trump has the authority to take such actions.