White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appears on ABC’s “This Week.”
As 25 million people prepare for the expiration of expanded pandemic unemployment assistance, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows attempted to push back Sunday against speculation that out-of-work Americans would face gaps in the assistance they receive, and characterized Republicans’ opposition to extending the $600 per week federal benefit as an incentive to encourage people to return to the workforce.
“The original unemployment benefit actually paid people to stay home, and actually a lot of people got more money staying at home than they were going back to work, and so the president was very clear, our Republican senators have been very clear, we’re not going to extend that provision,” Meadows said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are serving as the Trump administration’s lead negotiators on the forthcoming coronavirus relief bill, which is expected to be unveiled early next week. Mnuchin previewed details of the legislation for reporters Thursday, including a second round of direct payments to Americans and unemployment assistance at 70% of one’s wages, but continued discussion among the GOP caucus delayed the package through the weekend.
The unemployment insurance component of the bill is expected to be opposed by Democrats, who are pushing for an extension of the expanded $600 per week federal benefit that is set to expire this week. Meadows acknowledged the deadline imposed by the expiration date, as well as the desire to provide funding for schools planning reopenings, as he spoke about the legislation’s timeline at the Capitol Thursday.
“It’s just a matter of if there is the political will to do it, next week,” Meadows said. “You know, voting against schools and unemployment insurance is not the vote any of us would want to make.”
This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.