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Congress, White House try to reach deal on HEALS Act as workers and economy remain in limbo

The extra unemployment benefits set in place by the CARES Act have officially expired, but is Congress any closer to reaching a deal on new benefits?

Well, the deadline is Friday, August 7th, per Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Weekend meetings were held Saturday and Sunday, but all three parties involved remained divided.

Democrats, Republicans, and The White House are split on how to execute another round of relief. A second stimulus check of $1,200, and weekly unemployment benefits are two sticking points.

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Democrats say the $200 extra per week, which is $400 less than the $600 bonus the unemployed have been receiving so far during the pandemic is not enough to keep families afloat.

Meanwhile, Republicans say $600 is too much, and prevents people from going back to work.

“Mark Meadows and I will be back there every day until we reach an agreement,” US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC’s This Week. “We understand there’s a need to compromise. But, on the other hand, there’s also a big need to get kids into schools, get people back to jobs and keep the economy open and keep people safe.”


The second stimulus check, if approved, would be designed to spur spending in the economy. While many have been quick to point out that people need to get back to work – there’s a balance to be struck. Spending has been limited in the economy due to fears over COVID-19. Even in areas where the virus is less-prevalent, restaurants and stores have seen significantly less foot traffic.

That means less need for workers, and could pose a separate longer-term problem.

While the Payroll Protection Program was viewed as a savior for small business – it will only go so far if people do not get back out into the economy. Especially in the service industry, which makes up a massive part of the U.S. economy. For now, the focus is on whether a new deal can be reached by the end of the week.

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