WASHINGTON (NEWS NATION) — Congress will likely wait until next week to push through a second round of coronavirus aid, which will not include a payroll tax cut and could reduce an enhanced unemployment benefit, News Nation has learned.
This comes as Capitol Hill Republicans and the White House try to come to an agreement over how much money to dole out for unemployment benefits. The current round of benefits — $600 a week to jobless Americans – is set to expire in eight days.
Thursday morning, the Senate was expected to vote on its version of the bill, which would have kicked it over to House Democrats and begin negotiations.
According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin interfered ahead of the vote with one concession and one demand: The White House said the administration would drop its demand to cut the tax that finances Social Security and Medicare, but would continue to contest the amount offered to Americans who lost their jobs or wages due to COVID-19.
The United States surpassed 4 million cases of coronavirus Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.. The current United States unemployment rate stands above 11 percent.
In a White House coronavirus briefing Tuesday, President Trump contended that people will lose motivation to return to the workforce if they’re continuously held up by the government.
“We want to have people go back and want to go back to work, as opposed to be sort of forced into a position where they’re making more money than they expected to make,” he said during his briefing at the White House. “The employers are having a hard time getting them to go back to work.”
The president said he was initially opposed to the round of aid initially distributed, but admitted it “still worked out well, because it gave people a lifeline – a real lifeline. Now we’re doing it again… we were very generous with them.”
Currently, lawmakers are proposing a bill that would supplement 70 percent of lost wages through the end of the year.
The White House told News Nation that while an add-on amount is still being discussed, the administration has agreed to the 70 percent supplement. They said that if they’re not able to strike a deal by the end of the week, they’ll look into ensuring that there’s no gap coverage for Americans relying on the relief measures.
Reuters contributed to this report.