Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Saager Enjeti that a drop in weekly jobless claims on Thursday is little comfort given the massive unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Weekly claims fell to 787,000 in the report issued Thursday, but Stein said this is cold comfort.
“Some modest signs of progress, maybe, but at this point we’ve seen such a huge increase in the number of permanently unemployed that those [numbers] are really cold comfort,” said Stein.
“We’re already seeing excesses of the levels from the Great Recession of people permanently falling out of the labor force. And this number, it’s one that the initial unemployment claims that we saw when this started were unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Overnight Health Care: CDC expands definition of ‘close contact’ after COVID-19 report | GOP coronavirus bill blocked in Senate | OxyContin maker agrees to B settlement with Trump administration MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are negotiating a new COVID-19 relief package. It’s unclear, however, if a deal will be reached and a vote will be held before the elections.
Stein questioned if some House Republicans would support a deal backed by Trump, and if that would raise pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Ky.) to back it. McConnell has been cool to the size of the $1.8 trillion to $2.2 trillion measure.
“If Pelosi and Mnuchin get an agreement, and Trump gets behind it, how many House Republicans go along?”, said Stein. “Because if a ton of House Republicans go along, Mitch McConnell may have to back off of his aversion to putting this on the floor before the Senate before the election.
“And I’ve heard some estimates that there are many as 60-70 House Republicans who will just go along with whatever Trump is fully enthusiastically endorsing.”