Meadows says benefits to expire as negotiators struggle to get deal

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Trump leaves White House, promises to be back in 'some form' LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE said Wednesday that added unemployment benefits will formally expire on Friday as negotiators appear to be struggling to make any progress toward a bipartisan deal.

"Enhanced unemployment insurance provisions will expire," Meadows told reporters after a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinBiden can hold China accountable for human rights abuses by divesting now Pence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden Treasury imposes additional sanctions on Cuba over allegations of 'serious human rights abuse' MORE, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden attends first church service as president in DC, stops at local bagel shop More hands needed on the nuclear football Sunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? Schumer calls for DOJ watchdog to probe alleged Trump effort to oust acting AG Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-N.Y.).

Asked if he believed that it would happen now, he added: "I do."


Under the coronavirus relief package passed in March, Congress agreed to an additional $600-per-week federal benefit for those without a job during the pandemic.

As drafted, the benefit is set to officially expire Friday, but because of the calendar and how most states disperse unemployment benefits they actually began to expire last Saturday.

What to do about unemployment benefits has been a major sticking point for the chances of getting a bipartisan deal.

Democrats want to extend the $600 added benefit through the end of the year. Republicans, meanwhile, are proposing switching to a 70 percent wage replacement match. During the two-month transition to the new system, the federal government would provide a $200 per month federal unemployment benefit.

Some Republicans are pushing to move a stand-alone short-term extension of the unemployment benefits to avoid the Friday cliff.

But Meadows said after the meeting that Pelosi and Schumer have shot down that idea.

"There's been a lot of discussion about that, but Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer has made it very clear that they're not going to do that," Meadows said.