Executive Action Possible as Negotiations Continue on Next Virus Relief Bill

President Donald Trump could take executive action on virus relief amid little progress on negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, administration officials said.

Before meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that Trump may take action if negotiations dont come to fruition soon. Trump said in a separate interview that hes prepared to provide another round of stimulus payments through executive action.

After the meeting, Pelosi and Schumer told reporters that both sides made concessions.

“Were still far away on a lot of the important issues, but were still continuing to go at it,” Schumer said. “Were slogging through, step by step by step. And were making progress.”

Pelosi added, “We agree we want to have an agreement.”

Earlier in the day, Meadows and Mnuchin spoke with Republican senators during a luncheon.

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President Donald Trump holds up a walking stick given to him by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) after he signed the Great American Outdoors Act at the White House in Washington on Aug. 4, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin heads to a meeting on the CCP virus relief bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Aug. 4, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The conversation was mostly a debrief on what Democratic leaders had discussed with White House negotiators in the last meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters.

The pattern of negotiations sees Meadows and Mnuchin, along with staff members, shuttle between Republicans and Democrats to discuss varying proposals.

“I think they have said that theres not a whole lot of movement yet, but a feeling that seems to have been expressed that wed like to get an outcome. I certainly hope we can. The coronavirus is certainly not over. Its still an enormous problem,” McConnell said.

Democrats want the Republican-controlled Senate to pass the HEROES Act, which the Democrat-controlled House passed months ago.

Republican leaders stressed that theyre opposed to the $3.4 trillion act.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks after attending the Senate Republican luncheon at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Aug. 4, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows walks to the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Aug. 4, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“I think its pretty clear, should be clear to the Democrats, we are not going to pass the HEROES Act. It is not a serious piece of legislation. But we think there is common ground that we can find,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the number two GOP senator, said.

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