Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi discuss emergency negotiations on COVID relief bill
We’re not close yet, but it was a productive discussion, says Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Democrats were willing to compromise at $2 trillion for the fourth coronavirus stimulus package, but that the Trump administration rejected their offer.
Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday that Democrats have been “mightily trying to find common ground.”
“We’ll take down a trillion, if you add a trillion,” Pelosi said Friday. “They said absolutely not. Then we would be in range.”
Senate Republicans are pushing a package with a price tag of approximately $1 trillion, while Democrats’ HEROES Act, which passed in May, reaches about $3.4 trillion. Republicans and Democrats have reached a stalemate in negotiations, prompting President Trump to float the possibility of taking executive action to provide some economic relief to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged on Friday that the idea of the White House and Republicans adding $1 trillion to their price tag for the fourth package was a “a non-starter."
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that it is Republicans who are “stuck.”
“You should have seen their faces,” he said. “They’re the ones stuck.”
Schumer also slammed the possibility of Trump signing an executive order to address some issues he has prioritized, such as a payroll tax cut and other provisions.
“The biggest problem with executive orders is not what they do, but who they leave out,” Schumer said, pointing to Democrats’ push for further coronavirus testing, treatment and contact tracing to be included in the legislation.
The president this week said he would not hesitate to take executive action if talks on Capitol Hill came to a stalemate.
The president also tweeted this week: “I’ve notified my staff to continue working on an Executive Order with respect to Payroll Tax Cut, Eviction Protections, Unemployment Extensions, and Student Loan Repayment Options.”
Trump said he was considering taking executive action to halt evictions and suspend payroll taxes.
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“A lot of people are going to be evicted, but I’m going to stop it because I’ll do it myself if I have to,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I have a lot of powers with respect to executive orders, and we’re looking at that very seriously right now.”
There are some 110 million Americans living in rental households; up to 23 million renters – or 20 percent – are at risk of eviction by Sept. 30, according to an analysis by the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.
With the supplemental $600 in unemployment benefits now officially lapsed, about 24 million Americans say they have little to no chance of being able to pay next month's rent, according to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Rent and mortgage payments are typically the largest monthly expense for Americans: One in four tenant families pays more than half of its income for rent, a rate that’s even higher in cities like San Francisco and New York, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
“They’re thrown out viciously," Trump said. "It's not their fault.”
The president similarly suggested that he could use his executive authority to lower payroll taxes — a proposal that he's advocated for since the beginning of the virus-induced economic crisis, but one that has garnered little support from both Democrats and Republicans.
“I can do that also through executive order, so we’ll be talking about that,” Trump said.
Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
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