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Democrats and GOP still fighting over $600 jobless benefits. Where things stand

Democrats and Republicans are still debating the contours of another coronavirus relief package, two months after many prior provisions expired. Extra unemployment benefits are a sticking point.

The U.S. Capitol stands in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Talks Thursday between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin brought no immediate breakthrough on a deal for a new pandemic relief package, while the House prepared to vote on a Democrat-only plan. Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Democrats and Republicans still seem unable to find common ground on enhanced unemployment benefits, more than two months after the expiration of a prior, $600 weekly subsidy that had buoyed household income for millions. White House officials and senior congressional Democrats were still trying to hammer out details of a fifth financial relief package through Tuesday afternoon to help counter the negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump upended those talks around 3 pm E.T. on Tuesday, tweeting that he was instructing White House representatives to cease negotiations until after election day in early November. It wasn’t immediately clear whether that was a hard line or a negotiating tactic. Unemployment benefits appeared to be a key sticking point in the negotiations, despite consensus in other areas like stimulus checks and aid for small businesses.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 1. Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

‘Tremendous pressure’

It’s unclear whether congressional Republicans would support a $400-a-week policy or a bill with an overall price tag as high as the White House proposal. “Negotiations are ongoing,” according to a White House spokesman said Monday. “The White House continues to reach out to Democrats in good faith to try and reach a deal on delivering relief to American workers.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a Senate hearing on Sept. 24. Toni L. Sandys-Pool/Getty Images

Some experts remain hopeful lawmakers can still come to an agreement, especially as…

Greg Iacurci

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