White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows publicly criticized Congressional Democrats on Friday for resisting a deal on phase four coronavirus relief negotiations.
“We call on Capitol Hill to get serious about their negotiations,” Meadows said at the White House press briefing on Friday. “The president is serious about the negations.”
The $600 a week unemployment benefits expire on Friday, as Congressional leaders have not reached a deal to keep them going.
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Meadows said that Republicans had offered four different plans to keep the benefits flowing, but that they had been rejected by Democrats.
Senate Republicans unveiled a $1 trillion plan on Tuesday that would reduce additional federal unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 a week and offer another round of direct payments of $1200 to qualifying Americans. The bill also proposed protecting businesses from coronavirus liabilities, spending $75 billion for vaccine development and testing, and offer $105 billion to help schools reopen.
As negotiations this week failed, Sen. Mitch McConnell offered a short-term extension just for the unemployment benefits at current levels, but that was also rejected by Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the proposed offers from Republicans did not spend enough.
“I think they understand that we have to have a bill, but they just don’t realize how big it has to be,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday.
Meadows was not pleased with Democrats.
“The Democrats believe they have all the cards on their side, and they’re willing to play their cards at the expense of those that are hurting,” he said.
Meadows said he was surprised that Democrats continued to oppose Republican plans without even coming to the negotiation table with a proposal.
“The Democrats have made zero offers,” he said.