Mnuchin and Meadows. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters after meeting with Democratic leaders on Wednesday that the two sides are "nowhere close to a deal" on a coronavirus stimulus bill, acknowledging that extra unemployment benefits will expire on Friday.

Why it matters: More than 32 million Americans are currently receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to the most recent Labor Department data. Democrats had hoped to extend the $600 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit passed in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, but the Senate GOP remains extremely divided.

The state of play: The White House has repeatedly floated the option of passing a "skinny" bill to extend unemployment benefits, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has rejected that option as unacceptable: "We have to have a comprehensive full bill," she said.

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters, "They're tied in a total knot because of the disunity in their caucus, their inability to gather votes."
  • "We want to come back and keep talking to them, but they don’t have anything to say," Schumer added.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on PBS Newshour Wednesday that "about 20 of our members think that we've already done enough," meaning that 20 Republicans will likely vote "no" on any coronavirus relief package.

The bottom line: Asked what would be necessary to achieve a breakthrough, Meadows told reporters, "I don't know that anything does."

Go deeper ... "This is not going to be the bill": GOP senators criticize their own stimulus proposal

Go deeper

Schumer: "Nothing is off the table" if GOP moves to fill Ginsburg's seat

Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told congressional Democrats on a conference call Saturday that "nothing is off the table next year" if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican allies move to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: Schumer's comments come amid calls from fellow Democrats to expand the number of judges on the Supreme Court if President Trump and Senate Republicans move to fill the newly empty seat next time the party holds a majority in the Senate.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated Sep 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Democrats' Armageddon option

A makeshift memorial outside the Supreme Court yesterday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Furious Democrats are considering total war — profound changes to two branches of government, and even adding stars to the flag — if Republicans jam through a Supreme Court nominee then lose control of the Senate.

On the table: Adding Supreme Court justices ... eliminating the Senate's 60-vote threshold to end filibusters ... and statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. "If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021," Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) tweeted.

Susan Collins says Senate should postpone Supreme Court vote

Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Tom Williams/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement Saturday she believes whoever is elected in the 2020 presidential race should pick the nominee to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat.

Why it matters: Collins will be key in how the nomination process plays out. As one of the most centrist Senate Republicans, whether or not the Senate confirms Trump's SCOTUS nominee could hinge on her vote.

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