Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s open to a narrower package to extend expiring unemployment benefits beyond this week in lieu of Senate Republicans’ $1 trillion coronavirus relief package.
“We’re looking at all options,” Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said on “PBS NewsHour” on Wednesday.
He said neither side wants to see unemployment benefits expire as scheduled at the end of the week.
“Many things around here happen at the last minute,” he said. “So, hope springs eternal that we will reach some kind of agreement, either on a broad basis or a more narrow basis, to avoid having an adverse impact on unemployment.”
Mr. McConnell said about 20 of his members “think that we have already done enough” on coronavirus relief.
Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican, suggested on Thursday that there could be some action specifically on unemployment coming later in the day.
“We’ve got to take care of the people that lost their jobs — that’s the most important,” Mr. Scott said on Fox Business Network. “We’ve got to help those people. I know we’re going to try to do something just on that today — take care of the unemployment. So hopefully something positive will happen on that.”
Democrats want to extend a $600-per-week boost in unemployment through January.
Republicans have proposed a reduction to $200 until states can pay the unemployed about 70% of lost wages.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ruled out a short-term approach, though House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer suggested this week that there could be some wiggle room on the topline $600 number.
Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.