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 Terner MnuchinLawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid House Democrats plan to unveil bill next week to avert shutdown MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsAirline CEOs plead with Washington as layoffs loom Trump reacts to Ginsburg's death: 'An amazing woman who led an amazing life' Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg's death 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 PelosiAs families deal with coronavirus, new federal dollars should follow the student Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates Hypocrisy rules on both sides over replacing Justice Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerRepublican senator says plans to confirm justice before election 'completely consistent with the precedent' Video of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral Graham signals support for confirming a Supreme Court nominee this year 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 HoyerHouse Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep 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 McConnellOcasio-Cortez to voters: Tell McConnell 'he is playing with fire' with Ginsburg's seat McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Video shows NYC subway station renamed after Ruth Bader Ginsburg 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 JohnsonGOP set to release controversial Biden report Democrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill MORE (R-Wis.) and Mike BraunMichael BraunPessimism grows as hopes fade for coronavirus deal McConnell shores up GOP support for coronavirus package Patient Protection Pledge offers price transparency 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 CornynCalls grow for Biden to expand election map in final sprint Bipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Chamber of Commerce endorses McSally for reelection 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 GrahamMcConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Will Republicans' rank hypocrisy hinder their rush to replace Ginsburg? Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day 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 YatesButtigieg, former officials added to Biden's transition team The Hill's 12:30 Report: Delegates stage state-centric videos for the roll call Trump fires back at Yates for convention speech: 'Terrible AG' 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 ComeyDemocrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate Book: FBI sex crimes investigator helped trigger October 2016 public probe of Clinton emails Trump jabs at FBI director over testimony on Russia, antifa 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 John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards 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.