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During Friday’s Democratic Weekly Address, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) stated that the coronavirus relief proposal by Senate Republicans is “heartless and it’s just unthinkable. There is no time to waste on these kinds of partisan proposals.”

Transcript as Follows:

“Hello, I’m Senator Ron Wyden from the wonderful state of Oregon.

I’ve talked a lot recently with Oregonians who are walking an economic tightrope every day, having lost jobs or hours at work during the pandemic, trying to figure out a way to make rent, pay groceries, medical bills and car insurance. But one conversation in particular has really stuck with me.

I was speaking with a mom in Portland. She knew that supercharged unemployment benefits that we pushed so hard to achieve — the $600 weekly boost that was passed in the CARES Act – she knew those benefits were set to expire at the end of July. She told me that for her money was already awful tight, and with benefits expiring, she didn’t know how much food she could afford to buy for August. She said that she’d already started telling her kids they might have to eat less.

Imagine for a moment how difficult it’s got to be for a parent to have that conversation with her kids. And she’s just now dealing, alone, with that kind of hardship.

Supercharged unemployment benefits have been an economic lifeline for 30 million Americans during this pandemic. Democrats have been calling on Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans for months to work with us to extend the benefits to keep all these families in a position to make rent, pay for groceries. Republicans on the other hand just sat on their hands throughout the spring and the summer. And now because of them, benefits are going to lapse.

When Republicans finally brought forward a plan this week, they began by slashing this vital lifeline by two thirds – costing workers $400 per week. And then incredibly, they made it even worse, and they did so in the midst of the biggest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. They’re calling for complicated new regulations that according to those who are expert[s] at the state level, the Republican ideas would make it impossible to get benefits out anytime soon. This is just out-and-out sabotage, just throwing sand in the gears.

And Republicans are inflicting all of this pain on the economy and the unemployed, just when we’re getting reports that the economy is cratering. If Republicans get to slash unemployment benefits drastically when our economy is in freefall, the Republicans will be taking away one of the best tools for economic relief for our working families that can keep a struggling economy afloat.

And furthermore, while the Republicans shortchange the unemployed, Republicans have a priority to protect the multinational corporations from COVID-19. What they want to do is protect them from lawsuits with a federal liability shield. And on top of that, the Senate Republicans are proposing new money for defense contractors, new taxpayer subsidies for corporate power lunches, and a sweetheart real estate development deal that would benefit the Trump Hotel. They’re even trying to create a backdoor for cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits.

The bottom line is what Republicans are proposing is heartless and it’s just unthinkable. There is no time to waste on these kinds of partisan proposals. Supercharged unemployment benefits are going to lapse, and then all of the Americans who lost work through no fault of their own could face eviction, could go hungry, may not be able to fill their prescriptions and their message to us is clear. It’s time to renew these benefits and help the unemployed now. And I know I speak for all my Democratic colleagues when I say that we’re going to keep working and working around the clock to get folks the help they need from sea to shining sea.

Thanks everybody for watching, and I wish everyone the best.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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Stimulus negotiations: Pelosi rejects possibility of short-term extension of federal jobless benefits

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the possibility of a short-term extension of federal jobless benefits during her news conference on Thursday, taking a hard line in demanding that Congress approve a large-scale stimulus package that the White House has so far rejected.

"We're not having a short-term extension," Pelosi said when asked if Democrats are ruling out an interim extension of the lapsed federal unemployment enhancement if talks collapse, a signal that restoring the benefit will be contingent on the White House and Democrats cutting a broader deal, which so far remains elusive with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows saying recently that the two sides are "trillions of dollars apart."The federal enhanced benefit program was set up to provide an additional $600 a week to individuals receiving regular state unemployment benefits and was meant as an added boost to help blunt the economic fallout from the pandemic. It has now expired, however, as negotiators remain at an impasse over disagreements over the scope, scale and details of a new stimulus measure, sparking fears that a deal may not be reached at all.
    Pelosi on Thursday indicated no willingness to back off the demand for restoring the benefits to the level of $600 a week. "We have said that we are going to have the $600," she said, adding, "They know that we want the $600." Republican senators grow anxious over direction of stimulus talks with no deal in sight"Why dismantle a program that almost all economists say is working and put something new in its place that will take months to go into effect?" asked Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who joined Pelosi at her presser. Read MoreDemocrats have called for a comprehensive agreement and indicated they do not want to take a piecemeal approach to negotiations over a new stimulus. Republicans have accused Democrats of acting in bad faith as they deal with internal divides within their own party. Complicating efforts to strike any deal: a significant number of GOP senators hesitant to back any deal with a massive price tag after Congress has already approved trillions of dollars in coronavirus relief."As you can see the Democrats in the Congress are unified," Pelosi said, "At the same time, Republicans are in disarray." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on the Senate floor that he won't adjourn the Senate for the August recess Thursday, as has been previously scheduled, as negotiations over the next Covid-19 response stimulus package limp forward. He did say senators can return home and will be given 24 hours' notice to return for a vote on a deal if it is reached and that he would stay in DC as the talks continue.But McConnell added he won't wait forever and will adjourn for August if Democrats make clear they won't cut a deal: "But the Senate won't adjourn for August unless and until the Democrats demonstrate that will never let an agreement materialize. A lot of Americans' hopes, a lot of Americans' lives are riding on the Democrats' endless talk. I hope they are not disappointed."Pelosi said Thursday she sees a "light at the end of the tunnel." But she warned, "we have to move quickly, more quickly because that light at the end of the tunnel may be a freight train of the virus coming at us. If we do not act to contain it." The speaker sounded skeptical and dismissive when a reporter asked about possibility that President Donald Trump could take executive action if there's no stimulus deal with lawmakers."And what is he going to act upon?" Pelosi asked. "I don't think they know what they're talking about. The one thing the President can do is extend the moratorium and that would be a good thing if there's money to go with it and that's what we keep telling them."
      Pelosi was later asked if she thinks the administration could move money around without congressional approval. "They can't move that much money, we're talking about a major investment," she said.

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