No Deal in Sight, but Faint Signs of Progress in Coronavirus Relief Talks

Yuval Rosenberg
·2-min read

Negotiations on the next round of coronavirus relief continued Tuesday afternoon, and Democratic leaders emerged sounding more positive on the state of the talks.

"They made some concessions, which we appreciated. We made some concessions, which they appreciated," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters after meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. He did not detail those concessions.

Looking for a deal this week: Mnuchin and Meadows reportedly characterized Tuesday’s talks as the most productive yet. Mnuchin reportedly offered Democrats a few new proposals. He told reporters after that negotiators agreed they’d like to strike a deal by the end of this week so that both the House and Senate could vote on a package next week.

But, but, but: That doesn’t mean the two sides are anywhere close to a deal. The Washington Post’s Erica Werner described the state of the talks this way: “Pelosi’s comment after the latest Meadows/Mnuchin mtg — ‘We agree that we want to have an agreement’ — actually constitutes a sign of progress.” So yeah, there’s a long way to go.

White House still eyeing executive orders: With talks progressing slowly if at all, frustrated White House officials reportedly were still considering three executive orders aimed at providing some relief and prodding negotiations along.

“The three actions under consideration would delay the collection of federal payroll taxes, reinstitute an expired eviction moratorium, and in the riskiest gambit of them all, extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits using unspent money already appropriated by Congress,” Politico’s Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan reported Tuesday.

Meadows reportedly implied that the executive orders wouldn’t be needed if bipartisan talks progressed. And CNN’s Phil Mattingly suggests that the possibility of issuing executive orders won’t win the White House much leverage in talks since it’s “not a threat anyone on the Hill takes seriously.”

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