'Unacceptable': Democrats reject new White House proposal that would slash weekly unemployment benefits in exchange for one-time $600 stimulus checks

  • Democratic leaders are rejecting a new White House stimulus package unveiled Tuesday by US Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
  • The proposal calls for new $600 stimulus checks, but funds them by taking money away from a proposed boost in unemployment benefits.
  • "That is unacceptable," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.
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Democrats are rejecting a White House proposal to fund new $600 stimulus checks by slashing money for the unemployed.

On Tuesday evening, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed a new $916 billion COVID-19 stimulus package that would offer aid to state and local governments in exchange for "robust liability protections" for businesses, protecting them from employee lawsuits over the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Mnuchin's proposal, welcomed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also includes money for a new round of $600 stimulus checks — the funds coming, in part, by slashing a proposed $300-a-week boost in unemployment benefits.

"That is unacceptable," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.

The Democratic lawmakers noted that a bipartisan stimulus package calls for providing $180 billion in new funding for unemployment insurance, a figure that would be slashed to $40 billion under the White House offer.

A $3 trillion stimulus package passed by House Democrats in May calls for $1,200 stimulus checks.

"While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the president's proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan congressional talks that are underway," they said.

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