WASHINGTON, D.C. - It appears negotiations are currently at an impasse on Capitol Hill for a new stimulus package, and Senator Bob Casey is concerned a deal might not be reached in time.
"They left everything to the last minute so not only are we on the edge of the cliff for unemployment insurance, we went over the cliff," Casey said.
"The Democrats are being fundamentally unserious right now. They've offered no concessions, they've offered no plans, if anything they're moving the opposite way," said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi indicated she would like the stimulus to now be more than the $3-trillion HEROS act they passed almost two months ago.
However, Casey seems more open. "They say we don't want a $3 trillion bill, fine. But let's have a bill that really meets the need here," Casey said.
The immediate need being more state funding, which is not in the Republican proposal, and extending the extra $600 in federal unemployment benefits. Republicans have said they want to set the benefit at $200.The benefits ended last week.
"You continue the $600 for a period of time, a number of months, whatever we can work out, and then you tie the duration of the support to a state unemployment rate," Casey said.
Senator Pat Toomey said, in part, "..paying people more to be unemployed than to work is bad policy. It's not fiscally sustainable and it will delay the economic recovery."
Tony Iannelli with the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce says he has heard from some businesses that are concerned, but it's not the majority. "I talk to a lot of people who could choose the stay at home alternative and they don't because they love their jobs and they want to stay busy."
As of Tuesday, Senator Casey was not hopeful an agreement could be reached Friday, when the Senate goes in recess.
"I think we're far away right now, as of Tuesday, from that broader comprehensive agreement," Casey said.