Stimulus Checks: White House Chief of Staff Says Deal Won't Happen If It's Not Settled by Friday

As the debate over the proposed second stimulus check continues, the apparent deadlock has prompted several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to assure their optimism. That doesn't include White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who does not have a positive outlook.

On Wednesday, Meadows said he was "extremely doubtful" that any progress would be made before Friday, as Politico's Andrew Desiderio tweeted. That day also marks the beginning of a Congressional recess, which would delay any chance at relief by several weeks, at least. Meadows had previously said that the two sides were still far away from a deal but made some progress at a Saturday morning meeting. One of the major sticking points for Democrats is the $600 weekly unemployment benefits, which the GOP-led HEALS Act would cut significantly.

Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are representing the Trump administration in meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over the future of the federal unemployment benefit. Despite things going well on Saturday, an agreement hasn't remained out of reach. "We still have a long way to go," Meadows said on Face the Nation Sunday, admitting that Saturday's meeting was a "step in the right direction."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also said that the White House and Democrats are looking to strike a deal before the end of the week. "We're not at the point of being close to a deal, but we did try to agree to set a timeline," he told reporters. "We're going to try to reach an overall agreement, if we can get one, by the end of this week — so that legislation could then pass next week." Meanwhile, Pelosi also told PBS on Tuesday that she also hoped a deal could be reached this week as well, which would mean legislation could be drafted and passed next week. "We have to have an agreement," she insisted. "And we will have an agreement."

Schumer has also spoken positively about the state of things to reporters. "They have made some concessions which we appreciated," he explained. "We made some concessions which they appreciated," adding that they "are still far away on a lot of issues."