Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday pushed Democratic leaders to return to the negotiating table and compromise on a $1 trillion coronavirus relief package as aid for millions of Americans hangs in limbo.
"My view on negotiations is you agree on the things that you can agree on, half legislation that's good for the American public, and then come back for another bill," Mnuchin told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo.
Negotiators are trying to close the divide between Senate Republicans' $1 trillion proposal, introduced at the end of July, and House Democrats' $3.4 trillion package, which they passed in May.
Talks broke down last Friday, putting at risk potentially trillions of dollars in aid for families, businesses and the U.S. economy, including a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks, extra unemployment aid for millions of out-of-work Americans and $100 billion to help reopen schools.
There have been no signs of a détente so far, with each party continuing to blame the other for the stalled-out discussions. Mnuchin said both Democrats and Republicans agree on additional money for schools, child care, small businesses, hospitals and a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.
"Let's spend a little over $1 trillion on areas of the economy that are going to be very impactful now that we can agree on," Mnuchin said. "If we need to do more, we'll come back and do more and work together."
Facing a deadlocked Congress, Trump has recently acted unilaterally on additional virus relief, signing four executive actions on Saturday that would postpone the collection of payroll taxes for individuals earning less than $104,000 annually through the remainder of the year; partially restore supplemental unemployment benefits at $400 per week (25% of which would come from cash-strapped state's budgets), extend student loan relief and discourage evictions.
Combined, the four measures would inject about $165 billion of liquidity into the U.S. economy in the short-term and add about $10 billion to the nation's ballooning deficit, according to new projections released by the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Trump has pledged to pursue a permanent cut to the payroll taxes, but without legislation, those payments will still be required by the delayed due date.
"We're going to create a level of certainty for employers that want to participate," Mnuchin said.
The president has also voiced support for cutting capital gains tax, telling reporters that he's "seriously" mulling the proposal.
"The president would like to do capital gains tax, and we do need legislation to do what we want on that front," Mnuchin said Wednesday.