White House ups bid in last-ditch COVID talks with Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and is dangling the possibility of a COVID-19 relief bill with a price tag above $1.5 trillion in last-ditch, pre-election negotiations. An offer by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on unemployment benefits is higher than many Republicans would like in any potential COVID deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Significant, possibly unbridgeable hurdles remain. But the talks have generated momentum as the Trump administration presses for an agreement. On Air Force One Wednesday night, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Trump made an offer that was “extremely generous and certainly above the $1.5 trillion that has been articulated to date.”