joe biden nancy pelosi
Former Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

President-elect Joe Biden met with top Democrats in Congress on Thursday to discuss another COVID-19 relief package, which has been stalled in Washington.
Biden spoke on a call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about the growing need to distribute aid to Americans bearing the brunt of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“They discussed the urgent need for the Congress to come together in the lame-duck session on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that provides resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance, and affordable health care for millions of families,” according to a press release.
Congress initially passed the CARES Act with bipartisan support at the onset of the pandemic but has since struggled to come to a consensus on a follow-up stimulus package.
Since then, the House of Representatives has passed an additional stimulus package, but the GOP-controlled Senate has bristled at the cost. Similarly, the Senate put forth a “skinny” version of a stimulus package that was shot down by Democrats as not enough to help the American people.
The White House has been inconsistent with its messaging, with President Donald Trump at times shutting down talks and other times demanding a larger bill than the Democrats’ plan.
Pelosi, who had been in talks with the White House to negotiate a bill, has been under fire from members of her own party in the House for the continued delay, as critics ask her to prioritize the needs of Americans over the politics of the bill.
Pelosi responded to critics saying that they don’t understand the nuances of the bill as conversations continue while the US braces for surges in infections in the fall and winter months.
Alongside discussing the fallout of the pandemic and how to remedy it, the trio also touched upon Biden’s legislative plans that will spur bipartisan support.
“They also discussed the importance of finding bipartisan solutions to create millions of good-paying union jobs, including through investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, research and development, and clean energy,” the press release read.
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Unemployment benefits

New US jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday totaled 898,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The reading came in above the consensus economist estimate of 825,000, and also marks an increase from the previous week’s revised figure.
Continuing claims, which track Americans receiving unemployment benefits, fell to 10 million for the week that ended October 3. That was lower than economist forecasts.
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The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance rose last week, indicating discouraging progress around the US labor market’s ongoing rebound.

New US weekly jobless claims totaled an unadjusted 898,000 for the week that ended Saturday, the Labor Department announced Thursday morning. That reading came in above the median economist estimate of 825,000 compiled by Bloomberg, and also reflects an increase from the prior week’s revised total.

Continuing claims, which track the aggregate total of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, slid to 10 million for the week ended October 3. The reading came in slightly below the median economist estimate of 10.6 million.

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Roughly 65 million unemployment-insurance filings have been made since early February, trouncing the 37 million sum seen during the 18-month Great Recession. Thursday’s report comes in well below the highs seen earlier in the pandemic but still lands above the 665,000 filings made during the Great Recession’s worst week.

The millions of Americans still unable to find work are set to endure tougher economic conditions in the near term. Democrats and Republicans remain far apart in reaching a stimulus compromise, and Wall Street economists increasingly expect new fiscal relief to arrive after the November elections.

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While most polls point to a strong Biden victory in the presidential race, Senate election outcomes will “mean the difference between substantial fiscal expansion and fiscal gridlock,” Morgan Stanley said in a Wednesday note.

The lack of another expansion to unemployment benefits also leaves jobless Americans more prone to lingering debt through the pandemic. A recent study by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that Americans on unemployment insurance benefits used nearly half of the benefits to pay down debts. Roughly 24% of the payments were used for buying essential goods, and 23% were saved.

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steven mnuchin
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The Treasury has upped its offer on federal coronavirus spending by some $100 billion as it continues negotiations with Democrats, Roll Call reported.
The politics news site reported that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered a $1.62 trillion package when talking to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday.
They didn’t reach a deal Wednesday but committed to keep trying, Roll Call said. But even if they do strike a deal, it could still struggle to make it through Congress.
The two parties have been in a standoff as Democrats seek to secure much more spending than Republicans.
One source of agreement is that both Mnuchin and Pelosi want another round of $1,200 checks to be sent to Americans.
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The Treasury is increasing the amount of money it would support for a new coronavirus spending bill as it continues to negotiate with Democrats, Roll Call reported Wednesday night.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered a $1.62 trillion package in his Wednesday talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the report said.

The increased offer is said to include more money for education and state and local governments than before.

Pelosi and Mnuchin met for 90 minutes without striking a deal. But after, both seemed hopeful of continuing negotiations and reaching some kind of agreement.

One issue that is not in question: Both sides have said they support another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans.

Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

This week has been the first major negotiation on more federal spending to address the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic since talks most recently collapsed in August.

The parties have been trying to find common ground, with Democrats seeking a more expansive package: They have proposed spending $2.2 trillion. Republicans have argued for a far smaller amount.

After meeting Pelosi, Mnuchin told Fox Business that he would aim for somewhere between $2.2 trillion and an earlier offer of about $1 trillion.

“We’re not going to do a $2.2 trillion deal,” he said.

Mnuchin said President Donald Trump “instructed us to come up significantly, so we have come up from the trillion-dollar deal that we were working on earlier.”

He said the White House proposal was in the “neighborhood” of $1.5 trillion.

The politics site Roll Call said the following measures were in the latest version of the Treasury offer. The details have not been confirmed publicly or by other news outlets.

Direct payments of $1,200 for adults and $500 for dependents, which Democrats had signaled support for.$250 billion for state and local governments ($186 billion less than Democrats proposed but $100 billion more than in the White House’s previous offer).$150 billion for education (Democrats want $225 billion).$400 a week in additional unemployment insurance ($200 less than Democrats proposed but $100 more than Senate Republicans proposed).$75 billion for COVID-19 testing and tracing (this meets Democrats’ demand, while Republicans had offered $16 billion).$175 billion for healthcare (Democrats had proposed $249 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services).$10 billion for the US Postal Service (Democrats had proposed $25 billion and then dropped it to $15 billion).$160 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.Nearly $120 billion for businesses like restaurants and entertainment venues.$20 billion for farmers and ranchers.Negotiations are underway

It is not clear whether Senate Republicans would support such a proposal.

The White House and Senate Republicans had proposed a $1 trillion plan in the summer, and in September they floated a “skinny” plan, worth $500 billion.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently called $2.2 trillion an “outlandish” request. He also dismissed the idea of getting a deal through Congress before the November 3 election when talking to reporters after Pelosi and Mnuchin’s meeting on Wednesday, The Hill reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The source who outlined Mnuchin’s proposal to Roll Call suggested that McConnell might consider the latest proposal viable, but a spokesman for McConnell denied this.

Democrats have not yet voted on their $2.2 trillion plan, delaying it until at least Thursday to see what the outcome of talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin are.

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