Mnuchin says GOP, Democrats 'very far apart' on coronavirus relief negotiations

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis On The Money: Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary | Biden says he's open to tighter income limits for stimulus checks | Administration will look to expedite getting Tubman on bill Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary 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 TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' 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 PelosiEverytown urges Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign over newly uncovered remarks Sen. Patrick Leahy returns home after being hospitalized Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed support on Facebook for violence against Democrats MORE (D-Calif) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHumanist Report host criticizes 'conservative Democrats:' They 'hold more power' than progressives Bush-, Obama-era officials urge Senate to swiftly confirm Biden's DHS pick OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court upholds ruling invalidating Dakota Access, but doesn't shut down pipeline | Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency | Biden seeks to bolster consultation with Indian Country 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 MeadowsTrump ex-chief says Senate vote signals impeachment effort 'dead on arrival' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Trump leaves White House, promises to be back in 'some form' 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.