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August 7, 2020 3:30 PM, EDT

Mnuchin Says Trump to Take Executive Action as Stimulus Talks Stall

Steven Mnuchin and Mark Meadows leave after speaking to reporters.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center left, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, center right, leave negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Aug. 6. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he’ll recommend President Donald Trump move ahead with executive action on unemployment aid, evictions and student loans after another round of negotiations with Democrats on a virus relief plan ended without any agreement.

“The president would like to make a deal. Unfortunately, we did not make any progress today,” Mnuchin said after leaving a meeting Aug. 7 with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Because talks are at a standstill, Mnuchin said the president should follow through with a plan to restore a few of the provisions of the last stimulus bill that have expired.

Trump said Aug. 6 he is considering acting to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, restore a moratorium on evictions and forbearance on student loans and suspend payroll-tax collections if Republicans and Democrats can’t come to terms on a new stimulus bill. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Trump was likely to take action “over the weekend.”

“This is not a perfect answer — we’ll be the first ones to say that,” Meadows said. “But it is all that we can do, and all the president can do, within the confines of his executive power.”

Two people familiar with matter said Trump would extend the supplemental unemployment insurance at a $400-per-week level, a reduction from the $600 in the last stimulus bill. It wasn’t clear what mechanism he would use to fund the extension or how long it would be in place.

Mnuchin and Meadows again rejected an offer from Pelosi to roughly split the difference in the price tags of the Democratic and Republican coronavirus relief plans. Heading into the Aug. 7 meeting, Mnuchin called the idea “a non-starter.”

Pelosi and Schumer said Mnuchin and Meadows wouldn’t budge during the discussion. Schumer characterized the meeting as “disappointing.”

“I told them to come back when they are ready to give us a higher number,” Pelosi said.

The lack of any agreement leaves the negotiations on the brink of collapse. It was unclear whether there will be additional discussions, though Mnuchin said the administration wasn’t abandoning the talks.

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