Washington Post economics reporter Jeff Stein said on Thursday that progress is not being made on another COVID-19 stimulus bill on Capitol Hill as benefits and protections from the first legislative package are soon set to end.
Appearing on Hill.TV’s "Rising," Stein addressed rising jobless claims that have recently been reported as federal protections such as the eviction moratorium and expanded unemployment benefits are expected to end by the end of the year.
“Yeah, we're seeing the recovery not only stalled, but now begin to reverse itself,” said Stein. “When the pandemic started we saw a staggering consecutive — I think it was about 13 weeks of claims in excess of a million job losses. And that number ticked down over the summer and over the fall as the recovery proceeded apace and some of the easiest jobs to get back came back online. And now we're looking at that trend reversing itself.”
Hill.TV’s Saagar Enjeti asked Stein on the current status of a relief measure, citing reports that Speaker of the House Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power MORE (D-Calif.) sent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Woodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China MORE (R-Ky.) a letter asking to negotiate on another stimulus bill.
“It means really nothing. It means that they wanted to say that they are trying to do something, but it doesn't mean that they actually are trying to do something,” said Stein. He has said there has been no indication from his sources that communication is occurring, saying stimulus talks have “dried up.”
According to Stein, the White House has “basically given up” on another stimulus bill, allowing it to take a back seat.
“[President] Trump is apparently not only not worried about the stimulus, he's not even worried about the virus … [he’s] only focused on the election," said Stein.