The Trump administration will continue talks to resolve what the next round of stimulus relief should look like—with the goal of finding a resolution soon, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday.
“If we can get a fair deal we’re willing to do it this week,” Mnuchin said during an interview with CNBC.
The discussions, led by Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) so far have not led to an agreement.
As of last week, Democrats wanted to spend roughly $3 trillion on a rescue package known as the HEROES Act. Republicans, however, have supported their $1 trillion bill called the HEALS Act. Negotiations ground to a halt on Friday.
To circumvent the congressional tug-of-war, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Saturday, outlining four distinct areas of action:
- Extend the federal unemployment benefit, which expired July 31, and reducing it to $400 a week, down from $600. The federal government will pay 75%, with states expected to come up the remaining 25%. This weekly benefit is in addition to regular state unemployment benefits, which vary in amount depending on the state.
- Pause the payroll tax until the end of the year. This benefit would only apply to those making less than roughly $100,000 per year.
- Suspend interest on federal student loans and payments through the end of the year, extending this delay past the current date of Sept. 30.
- Call for an extension to the current eviction ban, specifically asking the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “consider” whether an extension to the current eviction ban is needed and to identify “any and all available federal funds” that could be used to prevent renters from eviction.
Next Steps Are Coming … Slowly
Although Trump’s executive actions were intended as a stop-gap measure while talks continue between the administration and Democrats, the two sides don’t appear to be any closer to reaching an agreement and have taken to criticizing each other in media appearances.
On Sunday, Pelosi and Schumer released a joint statement calling the president’s actions “meager” and that they “provide little real help to families.”
In a press conference today, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany fired back, saying that the “Democrats rejected multiple clean bills to provide relief.”
Still, negotiations are expected to continue this week, as even with the president’s executive orders, there remains much to be resolved. For example, according to the president’s memorandum, states will have to apply for funding in order to shore up their portion of the required 25% of the $400 weekly unemployment assistance.
And, although there appears to be bipartisan agreement that the Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable and low-interest loan program created as part of the CARES Act to help aid small businesses struggling to survive the pandemic, should receive additional funding, the exact terms have not yet been agreed upon.
It’s also worth noting that Trump did not outline any provisions for a second stimulus check, something both Democrats and Republicans say they support.