White House, Dem leaders make one last try on coronavirus relief deal
Pelosi and Schumer are set to hold their latest session with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows at 1:00 p.m. on Friday.
Meadows and Mnuchin have both publicly set a Friday deadline for negotiations. Administration officials are signaling privately that Trump will sign the executive orders as early as Friday unless there is significant progress this afternoon.
Trump’s executive orders — which would likely face legal challenges — are expected to suspend payroll taxes, extend eviction protections, boost unemployment benefits and help student loan borrowers.
Democrats themselves have shown only limited willingness to make compromises on some of the key issues, according to Trump administration officials involved in the discussions.
Pelosi denied on Friday that Democrats were overreaching.
“No, we haven’t overplayed our hand,” she said in an interview on MSNBC. “We’re not overplaying our hand when we are factually presenting what the needs are for our families, for our teachers, for our schools, for ending the virus.”
In a series of closed-door meetings over the last two weeks, Mnuchin, Meadows, Schumer and Pelosi have made progress on narrowing their differences on unemployment insurance but remain far apart on state and local aid, election security funding and help for renters, among a host of other issues.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added 1.8 million jobs with the unemployment rate falling to 10.2 percent. But the rate of job growth has slowed, and 1.2 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week.
Adding to the economic pressure for the public, a moratorium on evictions and a $600 federal boost in unemployment benefits from March’s $2 trillion CARES Act have both expired.
“Millions of Americans are still hurting and yet, despite this reality, President Trump and Republicans appear ready to walk away from the negotiating table to do unworkable, weak and narrow executive orders that barely scratch the surface of what is needed to defeat the virus and help struggling Americans,” Pelosi and Schumer said.
Max Cohen contributed to this report.