The White House and top congressional Democrats remained at odds Sunday over the scope of more assistance for 30 million American workers left unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic. In back-to-back appearances on ABC’s “This Week” show, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, sparred over how much new aid the national government should approve beyond less generous state unemployment benefits. Motorists take part in a caravan protest in front of Senator John Kennedy’s office at the Hale Boggs Federal Building asking for the extension of the $600 in unemployment benefits to people out of work because of the coronavirus in New Orleans, La.Four months of $600-a-week extra national benefits expired Friday. But Pelosi and other Democrats want to extend the payments through the end of 2020, while President Donald Trump and his administration initially want to cut the extra aid to $200 a week while working toward a package that would set the aid at 70% of what a worker had been paid before being laid off as the virus swept through the United States. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, speaks to reporters following a meeting at the Capitol on a COVID-19 relief bill, Aug. 1, 2020, in Washington.Pelosi, Mnuchin, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Saturday they had made progress in reaching a deal on the unemployment assistance and other aid to boost the country’s flagging economy. Their aides were set to resume discussions Sunday on details of a package while the main negotiators planned to renew their talks on Monday. They remain far apart on the size of an overall coronavirus assistance package, however, with Democrats calling for $3 trillion in new spending and Republicans wanting to limit it to $1 trillion. The Pelosi and Mnuchin disagreements quickly became apparent on the ABC talk show. “Overwhelmingly this is about keeping people out of poverty,” Pelosi said. “The $600 is essential,” she said. “This is about putting workers first, putting money in the pockets of American workers.” She did not, however, rule out the possibility of settling on a smaller continuing aid figure, but criticized some Republican lawmakers “who don’t want (to approve) anything.” She said the new assistance should be tied to unemployment rate. She downplayed complaints by Republicans that some unemployed workers have collected more in jobless benefits than they were paid while working. Mnuchin said Trump “is very concerned about the expiration” of the benefits” and “wants to spend what we need to.” But Mnuchin said he was surprised Democrats have spurned a White House offer to extend the $600-a-week federal benefits for a week while talks continue.  He said the continuing benefits “should be tied to some percentage of wages.” Mnuchin said “there’s no question some people were paid more to stay home than to work,” an outcome Republicans are determined to end. He said the virus has “devastated our economy.” Mnuchin said last week’s report that the U.S. economy, the world’s largest, fell 9.5% from April to June, the most in records dating back seven decades, was not surprising. He expressed optimism for the future, however. “I think we’re going to see a very big bounce back,” especially in 2021, he said.  

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