Democrats have insisted on extending the jobless benefit long term at $600 per week. The White House has made several counteroffers, reportedly proposing extra payments of $400 per week into December.
On Thursday, Meadows told reporters the White House officials would “stay engaged” in talks to reach a comprehensive agreement. Meadows said Trump told his negotiators that if the broad approach does not work, they should try to strike a “narrower deal” that addresses unemployment aid and evictions. Democrats have repeatedly rejected a limited agreement.
“And if those two things do not work, then [Trump] is prepared to take executive action on his own,” the chief of staff said.
Trump, who has not participated in face-to-face talks, tweeted Thursday that he instructed his staff to work on executive actions to offer coronavirus relief. The orders would address unemployment benefits, evictions, student loan repayment and a payroll tax cut, he said.
It is unclear what power Trump has to tackle those topics on his own. Congress controls federal spending. Pelosi told CNBC on Thursday that she thinks the president has the power to extend the eviction moratorium, and urged him to do so.
Schumer, though, cautioned Trump on Thursday against taking executive action. He indicated an order could get held up in court.
“An executive order will leave millions of people out. It will be litigated. It won’t be effective, and things will get worse,” the New York Democrat told reporters after the talks.