Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday President Trump will likely take executive action on a few relief proposals after the administration made little headway in negotiations with Democrats on a couple of key issues.
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“We have asked them for a specific compromise on state and local [funding] and a specific compromise on unemployment, we have not received proposals on that,” Mnuchin said. “If we can reach an agreement on state and local and unemployment, we will reach an overall deal, and if we can’t, we can’t.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Democrats want $915 billion for state and local governments – a position they have not changed for two weeks.
“What they want is a $2.5 trillion blank check,” Meadows said.
Republicans and Democrats are also split on how to continue to provide support for unemployed Americans, even though both sides agree it is a priority.
The CARES Act distributed an additional $600 to out-of-work individuals, which Republicans said discouraged workers from seeking out new employment opportunities.
Democrats, in the House-approved HEROES bill, advocated for extending that policy, which expired at the end of July, through the end of the year.
In the GOP-sponsored HEALS Act, Republicans proposed trimming the benefit to $200 a week while states create a plan to provide each unemployed worker with wage replacement equal to 70 percent of their previous pay.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats are committed to reaching a fair proposal, but added that they would not go along with “meager legislative proposals that fail to address the gravity of the health [and] economic situation our country faces.”
Both Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested the U.S. economic recovery is “losing steam.”
Some of the areas there is agreement pertaining to children, including ensuring access to food and broadband.
There are a number of provisions that could be affected by executive actions, which Mnuchin said the president may sign as soon as this weekend. Mnuchin mentioned unemployment insurance, student loan repayment options and foreclosure and eviction relief as the areas that would likely be taken on.
Trump, however, mentioned on Thursday that he may also issue an action to enact a payroll tax cut. That was not mentioned by administration officials on Friday.
Overall, Mnuchin refused to “speculate” about whether a break down in discussions indicates a bill is off the table entirely. Both sides said they were open to continued discussions.