The Trump administration is weighing whether to take unilateral action if it doesn’t come to an agreement with Congress on another economic relief bill, The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing two sources who were granted anonymity to discuss the deliberations.
No final decisions were made, and the administration would still rather get legislation through Congress, the sources told The Post.
President Donald Trump said last week that his biggest priorities in negotiations over another stimulus bill were an extension of enhanced unemployment insurance and another moratorium on evictions.
Both measures were implemented under the economic relief package enacted in March. But they expired in late July, and Congress has not moved to extend them.
It’s not clear how the White House could circumvent Congress on the matter, but the administration has pushed the boundaries of executive power over the past three years.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Discussions on a spending package between White House officials and top congressional Democrats are at an impasse on unemployment insurance, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
Republicans unveiled their $1 trillion spending package four days before the $600 federal unemployment benefit ended on Friday. They proposed cutting the benefit to $200 a week for two months and designing a 70% wage-replacement program to start in October.
But Democrats want to extend the $600 supplementary payments — that was part of their $3 trillion spending package that the House passed in mid-May.
Nearly 30 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, per the Labor Department.
GOP lawmakers proposed a skinny bill that would deal only with unemployment benefits and the moratorium on evictions. Democrats rejected it and are pushing to pass their more expansive legislation to address a range of healthcare and economic priorities like emergency fiscal aid to states.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, met on Saturday to continue the talks. But a deal remains elusive, Pelosi told ABC News on Sunday.
“The fact is we will be close to an agreement when we have an agreement,” Pelosi said.