Senate Voting on Covid Stimulus Stalls Amid Talks on Unemployment Benefits

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Senate Voting on Covid Stimulus Stalls Amid Talks on Unemployment Benefits” – below is their description.

    While Senate Democrats had looked to have nailed down a deal on the amount and duration of supplemental unemployment benefits earlier in the day, talks continued Friday afternoon, with GOP involvement.

    The negotiations held up the marathon of votes on amendments for more than three hours Friday afternoon.

    Democrats continue to work within their caucus to make sure that none of their members would go along with Republican amendments that could sink the bill in the House. Chief among the issues: unemployment insurance benefits.

    Earlier in the day, a Democratic agreement was unveiled to reduce weekly supplemental jobless benefits to $300 per week — from $400 in the House-passed legislation — and extend it through Oct. 4, compared with the end of August.

    The deal including making $10,200 worth of jobless benefits tax-free.

    Republican senators said Democrats are still working to line up support for that deal and to ward off an amendment from Ohio Republican Rob Portman to make the benefit $300 a week through July 18. It doesn’t address the tax issue.

    “They are worried about losing on Portman,” John Thune, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said.

    Key to the outcome could be West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who has argued for stricter targeting of pandemic relief.

    Texas Senator John Cornyn predicted Senate would pass the stimulus bill Saturday morning.

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