Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report Menendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS MORE on Wednesday said both the White House and Republicans were "very far apart” from Democrats on negotiations over the next coronavirus relief package.
“As of now we’re very far apart,” Mnuchin, who is leading negotiations on Capitol Hill, told reporters alongside President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE at the White House before the president departed for a trip to Texas.
Mnuchin said they are discussing a short-term extension of enhanced unemployment benefits and extending the federal moratorium on evictions before they expire at the end of the week.
“You got to work on the evictions so people don’t get evicted. You work on the payments to the people. The rest of it, we’re so far apart we don’t care,” Trump told reporters after Mnuchin spoke. “We really don’t care. We want to take care of the people.”
Trump went on to excoriate Democrats over the negotiations, accusing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan Photos of the Week: Climate protests, Blue Origin and a koala MORE (D-Calif) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHispanic organizations call for Latino climate justice in reconciliation Senate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act To Win 2022: Go big on reconciliation and invest in Latinx voters MORE (D-N.Y.) of not “taking care of the people.”
“So when Schumer and Pelosi can get together and take care of the people, we’ll do something. In the meantime, we want to stop evictions,” Trump said.
Asked later whether they were considering a short-term bill, Trump replied, referencing unemployment benefits and evictions: “We’re focused on those two things, we want to take care of them now. The rest we can discuss later.” The president also accused Democrats of seeking “big bail-out money” for Democrat-run cities.
The GOP Senate rolled out its $1 trillion relief proposal on Monday after days of negotiations with Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBiden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Ethics watchdog accuses Psaki of violating Hatch Act The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE. Since then, Mnuchin and Meadows have held meetings with Pelosi and Schumer in hopes of reaching an agreement, but the Treasury secretary’s remarks on Wednesday indicate they are far from reaching a comprehensive deal.
The $600 per week federal enhancement to state unemployment benefits and the moratorium on evictions enacted in earlier coronavirus legislation are due to expire by midnight Friday, putting further pressure on negotiators.
Democratic leaders are unlikely to agree to a deal unless it more closely resembles the $3.4 trillion relief measure passed by the House in May, which included funding for state and local governments and other measures not included in the GOP proposal. Pelosi and Schumer released a joint statement Tuesday sharply criticizing the GOP proposal, calling it a “weak, piecemeal proposal” that didn’t go far enough to help working families.