Stimulus update: ‘A lot of progress’ made on enhanced unemployment extension, but ‘major disagreement’ is delaying it and stimulus checks

August 7, 2020, 6:01 PM UTC

Update: President Donald Trump said Friday he’d bypass Congress and sign an executive order to extend enhanced unemployment insurance and other aid

Democratic and Republican leaders are set to meet Friday to discuss a broad stimulus bill, which would include a second round of stimulus checks to help Americans cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two parties are finally making progress, including on replacing the expired $600 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits. They’re still in disagreement, however, on funding for states and schools.

“We have major disagreement between us on the schooling in terms of the dollar amount, but also how the money would be spent. The president is insisting that most of the money they are allocating would go to schools that are opening [in-person] … but across the country school districts are saying largely, overwhelmingly that they will be opening virtually or in a hybrid fashion,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on MSNBC Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Thursday evening that the two parties are closer on issues including another round of PPP loans, a second stimulus check, eviction protections, and rental payments. Mnuchin even said “we’ve made a lot of progress” on enhanced unemployment benefits—which expired the week ending July 25 and were a major point of disagreements between the two parties.

Among other remaining major points of disagreement between Republicans and Democrats is state and local funding. Democrats would still like to see over $1 trillion set aside for state and local governments, which are dealing with massive COVID-19 related budget shortfalls.

“We’re still very far apart on that [state and local government funding]. The president is not going to do a deal that has a massive amount of money to bail out state and locals,” Mnuchin said Thursday evening.

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—the Republicans 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.

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