With the House and Senate far apart on what the next stimulus package will look like, the White House is considering options if a deal is not reached, sources told The Washington Post.
While the White House remains in touch with Democratic leaders, there’s pessimism about whether Congress can agree on a measure given some of the benefits from the original CARES Act expired last week and a gulf remains over its future, two people with knowledge of the deliberations told the newspaper.
Still, it’s unclear what action the administration could take without Congress on issues important to the president including lapsed enhanced unemployment benefits or the expired moratorium on evictions.
Over the weekend, Trump said he would be willing to support a temporary extension of the $600 a week additional unemployment benefit and a provision to make it retroactive. But the GOP has called for reducing the payment to $200.
Democrats and Republicans agree that stimulus checks of $1,200 per taxpayer should be part of any new legislation, but even in that case there is disagreement over how much dependents should receive.
Nearly three months ago, the House passed a $3 trillion package that included an extension of unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, aid for states and localities and other programs. The GOP proposal, which had yet to be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, is $1 trillion without lots of extras that the Democrats demanded.
Stephen Moore and Phil Kerpen, two of the president’s economic advisers, published a Wall Street Journal opinion piece over the weekend urging Trump to declare a “national economic emergency” and announce that the Internal Revenue Service would temporarily defer the collection of payroll taxes.
The action would be an instant payroll tax cut for workers, which Trump has sought, they wrote.
But it’s unclear whether such an action is legal or if it’s seriously being considered.
Meanwhile, the Post reported talks were expected to continue Monday on Capitol Hill with another meeting involving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-New York), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
“We still have a long way to go,” Meadows said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I’m not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term.”