WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Friday night he was likely to issue more limited executive orders related to COVID, perhaps in the next day or so, if he can’t reach a broad agreement with Democrats in Congress.
Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, saying the White House had rejected an offer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to trim about $1 trillion off her initial $3 trillion proposal.
Republicans said Pelosi was relying on budget maneuvers to curb costs and contended she has overplayed her hand.
The impasse in Washington means expiration of a $600 per-week bonus pandemic jobless benefit. It postpones more than $100 billion to help schools reopen this fall and billions of dollars to state and local governments.
Speaking in New Jersey Friday evening, Trump said “if Demo
crats continue to hold this critical relief hostage I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need.”
Trump said he may issue executive orders on home evictions, student loan debt and allowing states to repurpose COVID relief funding into their unemployment insurance programs.
He also said he’ll likely issue an executive order to defer collection of Social Security payroll taxes, an idea that has less support among his Republican allies.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, “This is not a perfect answer — we’ll be the first ones to say that — but it is all that we can do, and all the president can do within the confines of his executive power.”
Schools have been counting on funds from Washington to help with the costs of reopening. Other priorities include another round of $1,200 direct payments to most people, a cash infusion for the Postal Service and money to help states hold elections in November.
Mnuchin said renewal of a $600 per-week pandemic jobless boost and huge demands by Democrats for aid to state and local governments are the key areas where they are stuck.
“There’s a lot of areas of compromise,” he said after Friday’s meeting. “I think if we can reach an agreement on state and local and unemployment, we will reach an overall deal. And if we can’t we can’t.”
Democrats have offered to reduce her almost $1 trillion demand for state and local governments considerably. Senate Republicans have been split, with roughly half of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rank and file opposed to another rescue bill at all.
—AP stories contributed to this report.