House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is under considerable pressure to stand against the White House in negotiating the next COVID-19 stimulus bill.
The Republican Senate has stopped negotiations with the House, leaving it to the White House to tell them which direction to go. However, the negotiation comes more than two months after the House already passed the bill and at the last possible moment for help for Americans, the White House is scrambling.
The GOP bill would give a larger bailout to corporations, ushering in legal protections for them so that they don't have to pay for COVID-19 protections for employees. The Republicans would also like to see a lower amount of money for unemployment benefits because they believe that the millions of Americans out of work are not working because they're living off of unemployment.
According to the Brookings Institute, there are several misconceptions Republicans have tried to spin as reality, calling it "unemployment on steroids."
"First, critics portray the situation as if the worker has a choice on whether to collect benefits or return to work, and that workers will choose to remain unemployed if the UI benefits are higher than their pay," said Brookings. "Second, they suggest that employers don't have the power to retain workers or call them back to work if they want to, and that there are no other options for employers but to 'compete' with the benefit levels. Third, they suggest that public benefits available for nonessential workers are making essential workers feel undervalued."
Steve Mnuchin confessed that the bill is going to have to be bipartisan to get passed.
"We obviously need bipartisan support to get any deal done, the last two deals we got done 96-0 and 100-0. I think it's pretty fair to say that we're not going to do that again," he said.
Pelosi isn't backing down on the benefits, however.
"The amount of money that is given as an enhancement for unemployment insurance should relate to the rate of unemployment, so as that goes down, you can consider something less than the 600, but in this agreement, it's 600," Pelosi explained.