U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press along with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (L) and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows outside the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo
July 29 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump said Wednesday he's interested in a short-term stopgap measure if Democrats and Republicans in Congress can't agree on a larger stimulus bill by the end of the week.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, the president and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the White House would like to make sure some sort of legislation is passed before eviction protections expire Friday.
"We ought to work on the evictions so that people don't get evicted," Trump said. "You work on the payments for the people, and the rest of it we're so far apart we don't care. We really don't care."
Mnuchin said the administration would also support extending the additional $600 per week federal unemployment benefit, also set to expire Friday.
After meeting with Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters "we're nowhere close to a deal."
"I don't see any way to get a comprehensive deal by the end of this month and it's why the president is looking to extend unemployment benefits in some fashion as well as eviction protection," he said.
But Democrats rejected the idea of a stopgap measure, accusing Republicans of delaying negotiations. Some Republicans also were against the idea because they don't support the eviction protections or unemployment benefits.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune and Sen. Marco Rubio, though, said they'd consider the alternative if a broader deal can't be reached.
Senate Republicans introduced their $1 trillion coronavirus relief package Monday, including direct stimulus payments and a cut to unemployment benefits. It also includes a extension of the Paycheck Protection Program and funding to reopen schools.
One of the most contentious provisions would reduce weekly federal unemployment payments from $600 to $200, while states would adopt a system to provide about 70% of wage replacement for workers who have been laid off.
Democrats have opposed the package, instead backing a $3 trillion proposal passed by the House in May.