US treasury secretary says Congress could reach deal if Democrats are ‘willing to be reasonable’ – live | US news

Confusion and controversy rise over coronavirus relief aid

That’s clear then. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked how soon America’s unemployed will see the $400 a week of federal enhanced unemployment benefit that Donald Trump outlined via executive order at the weekend – down from the $600 a week they were getting before it expired in July amid a partisan impasse on Capitol Hill about further aid.

“We hope to see it quickly. Close to immediately,” McEnany just said at a briefing at the White House.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing moments ago.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing moments ago. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

She then noted that, actually, it will depend on states – whom the president has specified must pony up $100 of the $400 out of existing funds he says they have access to (which New York governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday was “laughable”).

“A lot will depend on states applying,” McEnany said, noting that they had funds already distributed by Congress, but adding: “It will require an application process”. Which does not sound like close to immediately.

“We will be working around the clock and look to make sure there is no delay,” she added.

However there has already been a delay as it is more than a week since the last $600 was received, with no sign of a solid plan.

She blamed any delay on the Democrats.

This followed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier today saying the Trump administration and Congress could reach a coronavirus aid deal as soon as this week, while Democrats said the two sides have not spoken since talks collapsed last Friday, Reuters reported.

Eviction protections and enhanced unemployment assistance both expired at the end of July, slashing aid for more than 30 million people.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Dems would reduce their ask for a new relief bill from three trillion dollars to two trillion, if the Republicans would meet halfway by rising from one trillion to two trillion. Talks at that point ended.


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