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Pelosi Unwilling to Negotiate on Unemployment Benefits

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she won’t budge on the $600 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits during negotiations for the next federal coronavirus relief package.

The amount has become a sticking point during the talks, with some Republican leaders calling for the weekly amount to be cut to as low as $200, but Pelosi said Democrats have dug in their heels on the issue.

“I think that the number, the $600, is related more to the unemployment rate. If the unemployment goes down, then that number can go down,” the California Democrat told CNN. “You’re not saying to the American people, ‘We have more infections, we have more deaths, we have more unemployment, we have more hunger, and now we’re going to cut your benefit.’ That’s just not going to happen.

“A building is on fire, and they’re deciding how much water they want to have in the bucket,” she said.

The extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits provided during the coronavirus pandemic expired at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

The House said Friday that it will delay its traditional August recess until a deal is struck, but lawmakers and the Trump administration aren’t close to an agreement.

The most recent statistics show weekly jobless claims in the U.S. are at 1.43 million.

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