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

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 TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe 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.

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“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 PelosiOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda MORE (D-Calif) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Progressives push for fossil subsidy repeal in spending bill 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 MeadowsJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Graham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid 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.

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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.