Mutiny? House Democrats Press Pelosi To Ink An Agreement On Coronavirus Relief

A group of House Democrats penned an open letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Wednesday, urging the Speaker to relax her position on coronavirus relief and return to the bargaining table with Republicans so that Americans can receive help faster.
The group is particularly concerned about the federal supplemental unemployment benefit, which ended several weeks ago when Republicans and Democrats were unable to come to an agreement meshing their respective coronavirus relief bills. Although President Donald Trump has authorized some of the payments to continue at a reduced rate of $300 per week, that move is by no means permanent, and House Democrats want a guarantee of relief, per CNBC.“In a letter dated Tuesday, the lawmakers urged the California Democrat and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to take up legislation that would reinstate the lapsed $600 per week jobless benefit until the coronavirus public health emergency ends, then phase it out as state unemployment rates fall,” the outlet reported.
“We owe it to people waiting to get back to work across the country not only to extend unemployment benefits to help them pay their bills but to tie these benefits to economic conditions so workers are not held hostage by another cliff like this one,” one of the letter’s authors told media.
Talks on the two bills fell apart weeks ago, and both houses of Congress have since been on recess, meaning further negotiations are likely stalled until at least early September, weeks after the initial coronavirus relief benefits expired.

Republicans want a $1 trillion relief bill that extends the federal supplemental unemployment benefit, but at a reduced rate; Democrats, who passed their own $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, want the full $600 per week for unemployed individuals and will not include a sunset provision on the measure. In addition, the two parties are at a standstill over several multi-billion bailouts — one to the United States Postal Service and one to states whose economies have been impacted by the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump stepped in and extended the unemployment benefit last week. He also suspended the payroll tax, eviction protections, and student loan deferment programs until the end of 2020.
Pelosi may be hard to convince, even if members of her own party are demanding a return to work on the issue. Instead of calling an emergency end to the recess in order to address coronavirus relief, earlier this week, Pelosi demanded that her caucus return to Washington, D.C., for emergency hearings on proposed reforms to the United States Postal Service — reforms that some conspiracy-minded Democrats are convinced will hamper efforts to count mail-in ballots in the November presidential election.
The United States Postmaster General suspended those reforms for one year on Tuesday, citing Democrats’ concerns.U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, departs her office in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. There's little chance of agreement on a new federal coronavirus relief plan without a compromise on the roughly $1 trillion in aid to beleaguered state and local government that Democrats demand and the White House opposes. Photographer: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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