- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday dismissed out of hand the possibility that Democrats would agree to a short-term extension of juiced-up unemployment benefits while lawmakers iron out details of a broader coronavirus relief package.

“I would be very much averse to separating this out and lose all leverage for meeting all of the other needs,” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“It’s a fraudulent tactic and with all due respect to you, an unworthy question when it comes to meeting the needs of America’s working families,” she said.

Pressed again, Mrs. Pelosi repeatedly said no.

“Do you understand no?” she said as Rep. Dan Kildee, Democrats’ chief deputy whip, tried to chime in. “No. No.”

A day earlier, Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer had also said they don’t want to see any partial extensions or piecemeal approaches for the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.

“We cannot piecemeal this,” Mrs. Pelosi said on Thursday. “It has an integrity. It has a oneness about meeting the needs of the American people, defeating the virus.”

House Democrats are pushing for a $3 trillion-plus package they passed in May that extends a $600-per-week boost in unemployment benefits through January, among other items.

Those benefits, included in the $2.2 trillion rescue package Congress passed in March, are due to expire at the end of the month.

Senate Republicans left town for the week after failing to unveil a formal plan for the next coronavirus relief package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said GOP leaders and the White House have struck a deal in principle but that more details wouldn’t be released until next week.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin has said they’re eyeing some form of extension, but that unemployment will be structured so it won’t be more lucrative for people to take the benefits over returning to work.

Senate Republicans are eyeing a package with a price tag closer to $1 trillion.

Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this report.

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