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Trump officials recommend executive action as stimulus talks break down

Mnuchin on stimulus negotiations: ‘We didn’t make any progress today’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows discuss the Capitol Hill meeting between Democratic leaders and White House negotiators, and Mnuchin says he will recommend President Trump move ahead on some sort of executive orders including rental evictions and college loans.

Trump administration officials said on Friday they plan to recommend that the president take executive action on specific stimulus provisions, as discussions about a broader package sputter between Republicans and Democrats.

“Unfortunately, we did not make any progress today,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters following talks. “We discussed the same issues.”

Given that outcome, he will suggest that Trump sign orders over the weekend to halt evictions and potentially provide some form of unemployment assistance – after the extra $600 bump provided by the CARES Act expired at the end of last month.

Mnuchin said it would take a “little bit of time” to finalize and process these actions, but the administration would work on it as soon as possible.

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Mnuchin suggested Trump would use executive orders to extend additional unemployment insurance benefits, to offer relief from rental evictions and foreclosures and to offer student loan repayment options. Trump also mentioned he may use executive action to cut the payroll tax.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the Democrats want a $2.5 trillion “blank check,” and the pair acknowledged that an executive order may not be ideal, but it will help bridge the gap because Americans are hurting.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had proposed splitting the difference in terms of the costs of the Republican and Democratic-sponsored proposals, an idea that Mnuchin deemed a “non-starter” earlier in the day.

While he said the two sides have reached agreement on a number of issues, Mnuchin indicated that two of the big sticking points during stimulus negotiations with Democrats are the terms of continued unemployment insurance assistance and on funding for state and local governments.

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