Talks between congressional Democrats and the administration over a fifth coronavirus package are entering their second week with no signs of a quick deal. 

After days of no visible progress last week, Democratic leadership, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis On The Money: Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary | Biden says he's open to tighter income limits for stimulus checks | Administration will look to expedite getting Tubman on bill Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsTrump ex-chief says Senate vote signals impeachment effort 'dead on arrival' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Trump leaves White House, promises to be back in 'some form' MORE indicated over the weekend that they had their most productive meeting to date. 

The foursome is set to meet again on Monday, after staff talks on Sunday, and Meadows has pledged that they would be on Capitol Hill every day this week. 


"We will be speaking to both the president on a regular basis and the staff on a regular basis and ... we will be back every day until we solve this,” Meadows said. 

Despite small signs of progress between the administration, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiEverytown urges Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign over newly uncovered remarks Sen. Patrick Leahy returns home after being hospitalized Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed support on Facebook for violence against Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHumanist Report host criticizes 'conservative Democrats:' They 'hold more power' than progressives Bush-, Obama-era officials urge Senate to swiftly confirm Biden's DHS pick OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court upholds ruling invalidating Dakota Access, but doesn't shut down pipeline | Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency | Biden seeks to bolster consultation with Indian Country MORE (D-N.Y.), the group is not close to a deal on a fifth package. 

“We'll be meeting again tomorrow. But I'm not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term,” Meadows said on Sunday during an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.” 

Schumer, after the Saturday meeting, told reporters that “we’re not close yet, but it was a productive discussion.”

The talks have already cut into the House’s scheduled five-week break. Though most House members have scattered, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (D-Md.) has warned that they will be called back to Washington, D.C., with at least 24 hours notice once they have a deal. 

“We're not announcing the August work period. We will be ready to act as soon as we can on COVID-19 relief. ... I will call this House back into session ... at the very minute that we have an agreement,” Hoyer said from the House floor on Friday. 


The Senate’s four-week break is currently scheduled to start next Monday, Aug. 10. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHumanist Report host criticizes 'conservative Democrats:' They 'hold more power' than progressives Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate MORE (R-Ky.) has not said what will happen if they reach Friday without a deal, which seems likely. 

Mnuchin has pointed to issues including aid for schools, the Paycheck Protection Program and help for community banks as areas where the administration and congressional Democrats are closer to an agreement. 

But, despite the progress made on Saturday, there remain deep, hard-to-resolve areas of division: Democrats want roughly $1 trillion in additional aid for state and local governments, while the GOP package provides more flexibility for the $150 billion already appropriated by Congress but no new funds. 

McConnell has drawn a hard line on including a five-year shield from coronavirus lawsuits, while Democrats want more worker protections. And Democrats want to provide a $600 per week federal unemployment benefit, similar to a provision in the March bill that expired on Friday. 

But Republicans argue that the previous per-week payment was too generous. As part of the GOP proposal they want to transition to a system that, when the federal benefit is combined with state unemployment, would provide a 70 percent match to a person’s previous wage, with a $500 per week cap on the federal benefit. 

If a state could not transition to the wage-based system — which Democrats and some state offices have warned that archaic systems would make all but impossible — the federal government would instead provide a flat $200 per week federal payment. 

"Unemployment is supposed to be wage replacement, so it should be tied to some percentage of wages,” Mnuchin told ABC’s “This Week”. "The fact that we had a flat number was only an issue of an emergency where we had 30-year-old computer systems."

But Republicans are deeply divided over what the fifth coronavirus package should look like. McConnell, during an interview with a Kentucky radio station, estimated that between 15-20 GOP senators “are not going to vote for anything.” 

As negotiators continue talks on a fifth package, McConnell has also teed up a debate in the Senate over the unemployment benefits, which, in addition to differences with Democrats, deeply divide Republicans. 

McConnell told reporters that he was forcing the votes because “no progress is being made anywhere else.” 

McConnell hasn’t detailed his plan, but GOP senators say they expect him to start the Senate’s debate with a vote on a plan from Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonBiden's Commerce secretary pick says Section 230 'needs some reform' Senate committee advances Biden's DHS pick despite Republican pushback GOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack MORE (R-Wis.) and Mike BraunMichael BraunBiden signals he's willing to delay Trump trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' MORE (R-Ind.) that, when state and federal benefits are combined, would provide a two-thirds match compared to a person’s previous wage. 

But the effort isn’t expected to have the 60 votes needed to advance, and Republicans have warned that there is division within the conference even over the Johnson-Braun proposal. 


“Big question mark if they have 60 votes to get that done,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate GOP signals it's likely to acquit Trump for second time Bush-, Obama-era officials urge Senate to swiftly confirm Biden's DHS pick Senate committee advances Biden's DHS pick despite Republican pushback MORE (R-Texas), adding that the GOP conference was “pretty divided.”  

Asked if he was for Johnson-Braun, Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) repiied “I am for the shell bill, and I am for putting a bill on the floor to deal with the unemployment compensation issues and having a full and fair debate.” 

Asked what he wanted to do with the $600 per week payment, he added, “I’ve given you the best answer I can.” 

GOP probe

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Trump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair MORE (R-S.C.) will hold his second public hearing as part of his investigation of the origins of the FBI’s probe into Russia’s 2016 election meddling and the Trump campaign, as well as former special counsel Robert Muller’s probe. 

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesBiden directs DOJ to phase out use of private prisons The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from chaotic downtown DC Biden to name Merrick Garland for attorney general MORE, who was briefly acting attorney general, is set to testify before the committee on Wednesday. 


Republicans want to hear from Yates because she was in the Oval Office for a Jan. 5, 2017, meeting that has emerged as an area of interest for the president's allies.

Then-President Obama and then-FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHawaii GOP official resigns over now-deleted tweet defending QAnon supporters Biden to keep Wray as FBI director Comey: 'Republican Party has to be burned to the ground' MORE discussed sharing national security information related to Russia with incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia shortly before President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE took office. The Justice Department announced earlier this year that it was dropping the case against Flynn. 

Graham’s investigation includes reviewing the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the probes into Flynn and former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. 

Yates approved both the initial warrant application on Page and the first renewal. 


Before the Senate turns to its debate on unemployment benefits, McConnell has teed up a vote on Mark Wesley Menezes’s nomination to be deputy secretary of Energy. 

The Senate will take a procedural vote on his nomination on Monday, and is expected to take a final vote on his nomination on Tuesday.