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President Donald Trump said that Republicans and Democrats aren’t close to resolving their differences over a coronavirus stimulus package, and that Congress may need to pass some stopgap measures to prevent aid from running out.
The final payments of supplemental unemployment insurance that were included in the last stimulus run out this week, and federal protections against evictions expired July 25, while mortgage foreclosures also are expiring with no agreement in sight.
“We ought to work on the evictions so that people don’t get evicted, to work on the payments to the people and the rest of it,” Trump said at the White House before leaving on a trip to Texas. “We’re so far apart we don’t care.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters earlier that the two sides are “very far apart” and that lawmakers should agree on a short-term extension of the unemployment benefits and eviction protections.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has rejected the idea of passing a stimulus bill piecemeal, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants Congress to act on a comprehensive plan.
Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have engaged in shuttle negotiations between Senate Republicans and Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to reconcile differences between the $1 trillion stimulus plan the GOP released July 27 and the $3.5 trillion package House Democrats passed in May.
The two administration officials are scheduled to be back at the Capitol on July 29.
While there is some common ground on issues like small business aid, stimulus checks for individuals and money to expand coronavirus testing and eventual vaccine distribution, there are major hurdles to any potential compromise.
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