Republicans in the U.S. Senate are expected to unveil Monday a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package proposal, days before the expiration of federal unemployment payments for millions of Americans who are out of work.
After several days of talks with Republicans on Capitol Hill, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday the package includes extending unemployment benefits, but at 70% of a person’s previous pay.
The benefits set to expire Friday, which were part of an earlier coronavirus relief bill, pay unemployed people $600 per week in addition to state unemployment benefits.
Republicans have expressed objections to the fact that the existing level means some people, when combining the federal payments with state benefits, were making more money than when they were working.
Democrats have countered that given the persisting level of coronavirus infections in the country many people do not yet feel safe returning to their jobs.
Republicans control the Senate, but Democrats have the majority in the House of Representatives, meaning leaders of the two halves of the legislature will need to reach an agreement on any aid package.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes a deal can come together in the next two or three weeks.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday criticized Republicans as being “in disarray, and that delay is causing suffering for America’s families.”
Meadows and Mnuchin said in order to ensure the unemployment benefits do not lapse, there is the possibility of passing a smaller bill targeting pieces of the original coronavirus aid package that are due to expire soon.