Trump Administration Reportedly Considering ‘Unilateral Action’ If Lawmakers Can’t Reach A Deal On Second Stimulus

TOPLINE

 As lawmakers continue to squabble over the next round of federal stimulus legislation, the White House is reportedly considering “unilateral action”—that is, executive powers that don’t require buy-in from Congress—to mitigate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus, according to a Monday report from the Washington Post.

KEY FACTS

It isn’t yet clear what actions the White House is considering, or what steps it would be allowed to take.

Last week, Trump identified expanded unemployment and eviction protections as two issues that are top of mind, floating the possibility of a short-term side deal to extend both (Democrats rejected this). 

Those actions depend on whether lawmakers are able to come to an agreement on the next stimulus package this week, before members of Congress leave for their scheduled August recess. 

Key provisions of the CARES Act, like the federal unemployment supplement and eviction protections for certain renters, have already expired and a deadlocked Congress has not yet been able to compromise on another tranche of relief legislation. 

After negotiations with Democratic leaders, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday that he’s “not optimistic” that there will be a solution in the “very near term.” Meadows did note however, that weekend meetings on the Hill were a “step in the right direction.”

Key background 

President Trump has yet to become actively involved in negotiations, according to reporting by the New York Times. Economists, lawmakers and others are reportedly “baffled” by the president’s apparent reluctance to take a more central role in crafting the new legislation. He did weigh in on Friday, however, to suggest that Democrats were “holding back” the next round of stimulus checks, which he said were “ready to be sent out.” That isn’t true—the IRS isn’t authorized to prepare checks until a bill is passed and Trump signs it. That won’t happen until both Democrats and Republicans reach an agreement. 

Further reading

Rubio Says Congress ‘Certainly Closer’ To PPP Extension Than Stimulus Deal (Forbes)

WH Chief Of Staff ‘Not Optimistic’ About Coronavirus Stimulus Deal ‘In The Very Near Term’ (Forbes)

Trump Blasts Democrats For Holding Up Stimulus Checks—But That’s Not How It Works (Forbes)

Slashing $600 Unemployment Benefits Would Be ‘Absolutely Devastating’ For U.S. Economy (Forbes)

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