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Why Washington can't meet its own deadline

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27: The flag flies at half-staff in honor of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) outside the U.S. Capitol where he will lie in state July 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Called 'the conscience of the U.S. Congress,' Lewis was a civil rights pioneer, contemporary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and helped to organize and address the historic March on Washington in August 1963. Lewis served Georgia's fifth congressional district from 1987 until his death on July 17. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Members of Congress faced a major deadline this week: On Friday at midnight, the $600 weekly unemployment benefit enacted this spring expires. Could they act before those enhanced federal benefits officially run out?

(CNN)Members of Congress faced a major deadline this week: On Friday at midnight, the $600 weekly unemployment benefit enacted this spring expires.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rolled out a $1 trillion stimulus proposal, which included a smaller weekly unemployment benefit than the current $600.

Add that to the Democrats' opposition, and hope began to dim for a compromise before the end of the week to quickly help Americans reeling from the pandemic.

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, an outspoken critic of mask mandates, tested positive for coronavirus after planning to travel on Air Force One with the President.

The news broke open simmering issues with mask policies, testing and enforcement within the US Capitol complex.

It prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to issue a mask requirement for the House floor and all House buildings.

The Senate, led by McConnell, has no such requirement.

Back in May, Pelosi and McConnell turned down a White House offer to send rapid-testing resources to the Capitol.

Leaders are now discussing a testing mandate for lawmakers, but nothing is official.

The Point: Congressional leaders couldn't even agree on a testing policy for all lawmakers this week, much less how to help the record number of Americans affected by this pandemic.

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