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Stimulus negotiations latest: The Senate's not in town as $600 unemployment benefits are set to expire

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The unemployment benefit that has kept millions afloat amid the worst economic crisis in decades officially expires at midnight. Weekly jobless claims continue to rise. Economic forecasters are warning of another slowdown. The coronavirus has resurged across the country.

Washington (CNN)The unemployment benefit that has kept millions afloat amid the worst economic crisis in decades officially expires at midnight.

Lawmakers and the Trump administration, people involved in the talks say, are no closer to a broad deal than they were at the start of the week.

What to watch: The top White House negotiators, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and the top Democratic negotiators, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, are expect to speak by phone Friday and through the weekend, but at this point no in-person meetings are planned.

President Donald Trump said Mnuchin and Meadows would bring new options on unemployment benefits to the table Thursday night, and according to a person briefed on the talks, they did in the form of a longer-term extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits at the $600 level.

Something to keep in mind, this has been pointed out to CNN by aides on both sides of the talks: Democrats have no incentive to break off the unemployment piece because, in their view, there is no sense they'll get another bite of the bigger apple.

Instead, focus on the jobless numbers, combined with the warnings this week from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about a potential slowdown -- and the need for more fiscal response from Congress.

Along those lines: CNN has had several lawmakers make the point that it's OK if benefits expire because whenever Congress reaches a deal they'll be made retroactive and everyone will be made whole.

He brought up a shell bill and, with a simple majority vote, put it into play for next week -- something that creates a number of potential options, from serving as a vehicle for a short-term unemployment deal, or even a comprehensive deal, or just a place where there will be dueling messaging votes.

As one senator told CNN: "If we could stay on the floor and start talking to each other we'd be in a much better place. " They'll have an opportunity to do that next week.

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