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The White House has rejected an offer for a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package proposed by Democratic leaders.

As part of a closed-door meeting with White House officials Thursday, Democrats offered to cut their $3.4 trillion proposal by $1 trillion if Republicans would agree to increase their roughly 1-trillion-dollar package by the same amount, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday at a joint press conference with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

“‘We’ll take down a trillion, if you add a trillion in’. They said absolutely not,” Pelosi told reporters, adding she would make the offer once again as part of negotiations with WH officials, reports Xinhua news agency.

That strategy, effectively trying to split the difference between the two sides, would result in legislation costing between $2 trillion and $2.4 trillion.

Pelosi and Schumer are expected to meet with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to continue negotiations over the next COVID-19 relief package.

“We remain committed to continue negotiating and reaching a fair agreement with the Administration, but we will not go along with the meager legislative proposals that fail to address the gravity of the health and economic situation our country faces,” Pelosi and Schumer said earlier Friday in a joint statement following the release of the July’s job report.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2020 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (3rd L) speaks during a press conference in Washington D.C., the United States, on Jan. 15, 2020. The U.S. House of Representatives officially sent impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate on Wednesday evening to allow a trial to get underway. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua/IANS) by .
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (3rd L) speaks during a press conference in Washington D.C. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua/IANS)

“We call upon the White House’s negotiators to join us once again at the negotiating table today to secure a bipartisan agreement to put children, families and workers first,” they said.

US employers added 1.8 million jobs in July, and the unemployment rate dropped to 10.2 per cent amid reopening efforts, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

“The latest jobs report shows that the economic recovery spurred by the investments Congress has passed is losing steam and more investments are still urgently needed to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people.

“Millions of Americans are still hurting,” Pelosi and Schumer said.

The extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit for every unemployed, which benefited nearly 30 million Americans, expired last week, as Republican and Democratic lawmakers failed to reach a deal over the next COVID-19 relief bill.

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