Mnuchin: Negotiators no closer to coronavirus deal than a week ago

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinOn The Money: Schumer urges Democrats to stick together on .9T bill | Collins rules out GOP support for Biden relief plan | Powell fights inflation fears Mnuchin expected to launch investment fund seeking backing from Persian Gulf region: report Larry Kudlow debuts to big ratings on Fox Business Network MORE told Senate Republicans Tuesday afternoon that negotiators are no closer to a coronavirus relief deal than they were last week, blaming Democratic leadership for the continuing stalemate.

Mnuchin told lawmakers that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings Curator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCongress holds candlelight vigil for American lives lost to COVID-19 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers investigate Jan. 6 security failures Senate confirms Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador MORE (D-N.Y.) have dug in and are holding firm, even after the $600-a-week federal enhancement to state unemployment benefits expired last week.

“I think the comment was he didn’t think they were any closer to a deal than they were this time last week,” said Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyFive big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings Sanders votes against Biden USDA nominee Vilsack Senate confirms Vilsack as Agriculture secretary MORE (R-Mo.), recounting Mnuchin’s report for the GOP conference.


“There’s growing skepticism that actually Democrats want to get a deal done,” he added.

Other Republicans emerging from the briefing with Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE said it appears the bipartisan negotiations are at a stalemate, even though the Senate is scheduled to leave for the annual August recess Friday.

“I think we’re at an impasse,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyPowell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Former Trump officials eye bids for political office The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - COVID-19 rescue bill a unity test for Dems MORE (R-Ala.), who said the outlook for reaching a deal “doesn’t look good.” 

Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunSenate GOP ready to turn page on Trump GOP senators praise impeachment managers but say Trump will be acquitted Senate panel advances Biden's education and labor secretary picks MORE (R-Ind.) said Tuesday’s lunch “was the same discussion” GOP lawmakers had with Mnuchin and Meadows a week ago. 

“No movement,” he said.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSanders votes against Biden USDA nominee Vilsack Senate confirms Vilsack as Agriculture secretary DeSantis easily defeats Rubio, Scott in hypothetical presidential primary: poll MORE (R-Fla.) said Mnuchin and Meadows told lawmakers that Pelosi and Schumer aren’t willing to come off their starting point in the negotiations, which is support for passing the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act that the House passed in May. 


“The frustration really that’s building is that there doesn’t seem to be a willingness to really negotiate by the Democrats at this point. It’s still sort of maximum leverage stage, which I had hoped we would have passed by now but that’s where we still are.”

As Senate Republicans grow more pessimistic about the prospect of a broader deal, they’re wondering if there’s any smaller package centered on an extension of the federal enhancement to unemployment benefits that Democrats would want to accept. 

Pelosi and Schumer want to extend the $600-a-week federal enhancement through January, while Republicans want to add a smaller amount per week to state unemployment benefits. 

The stalled talks also have Republicans wondering if they’re going to go on recess as scheduled, stay in Washington to await a deal or leave with the expectation that they could be called back to Capitol Hill on short notice to pass a bill.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynProgressive support builds for expanding lower courts McConnell backs Garland for attorney general Garland seeks to draw sharp contrast with Trump-era DOJ MORE (R-Texas), who is up for reelection in November, said lawmakers should stay in town to focus on the negotiations, even though rank-and-file lawmakers are largely on the sidelines while Mnuchin, Meadows, Pelosi and Schumer try to hash out a deal. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general Trump to attend private RNC donor retreat The Patriot Party already exists — it's the Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) has kept close tabs on the talks, though he has not been in the room when White House officials and Democratic leaders meet. 

“Basically what Mnuchin and Meadows said is Democrats do not appear to be serious about reaching a negotiated outcome so we’re prepared to be in session until we get one,” Cornyn said.

“We’ll be in session next week if we don’t get a resolution,” Cornyn added. “How do you think it looks for us to be back home when this is unresolved. This is the most important thing we need to be doing.”

Asked if Senate Republicans need to get more involved in the talks, Cornyn responded: “Sen. McConnell is directly involved in the negotiations.”

Meadows told reporters after the meeting that White House negotiators will attempt to reinvigorate the talks with a new offer but warned a deal is still nowhere close to being had.

“Secretary Mnuchin is prepared to make a few proposals that hopefully will be met with enthusiasm and yet we’re a long ways away from striking any kind of deal,” Meadows said. 

Mnuchin then added: “If the Democrats are serious on negotiating we can do a deal quickly.”


The Treasury secretary floated the possibility of President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident MORE taking executive action to mitigate the economic impact of Congress’s inability to move another relief bill.

Trump told reporters Monday that he is prepared to act unilaterally to suspend evictions and payroll taxes.

“A lot of people are going to be evicted but I’m going to stop it because I’ll do it myself if I have to,” he said. “I have a lot of powers with respect to executive orders, and we’re looking at that very seriously right now.”