Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) of not wanting to engage on anything.
“Both Republicans and Democrats agree that in these extraordinary times it makes sense for the federal government to provide historic additional help on top of normal unemployment,” McConnell said. “But the Speaker and the Democratic leader say they won’t agree to anything unless the program pays people more to stay home than to work.”
Schumer retorted that negotiating with White House and Senate Republicans is like “trying to nail JELL-O to the wall.” He’ll attempt to pass the Democrats’ $3 trillion HEROES Act by unanimous consent around noon Thursday.
“Who is leading the effort on the Republican side,” Schumer asked. “Chief Meadows and Secretary Mnuchin….Leader McConnell has said that Democrats won’t engage. I would remind him if he refuses to go into the room when Speaker Pelosi, Secretary Mnuchin, chief of staff Meadows and I sit in there.”
When asked whether the Senate would leave for the weekend without a deal on unemployment insurance, McConnell said “we’re all still talking, we hope we can get an outcome soon.”
In addition to the Johnson proposal, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is expected to introduce an alternative bill that would give states two options for three months: either 80 percent wage replacement or a flat payment of $500 a week, that would gradually decrease to $400 in September, and $300 in October.