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."