President Trump said that a short-term deal to stop evictions of renters could address American’s immediate needs amid a pandemic while congressional negotiators attempt to reconcile a larger bill.
“We ought to work on the evictions, so people don’t get evicted,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to Texas on Wednesday. “You work on the payments to the people. On the rest of it, we’re so far apart we don’t care. We really don’t care.”
Last week the federal moratorium on evictions expired, exposing tenants of more than 12 million rental units to eviction for missing payments. The $600-per-week boost in unemployment benefits passed in March as part of the CARES Act will expire Friday.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was with Trump as he emphasized the need to halt evictions.
“We want to take care of the people,” Trump said.
Congressional negotiators are divided over how best to address the economic circumstances brought on by the coronavirus in a follow-up package. Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have advised a narrow, short-term deal.
Negotiations are “very far apart,” Mnuchin said on Wednesday.
“We’re looking at a deadline, obviously, of this Friday,” said Mnuchin, who is leading negotiations for the administration. “The president is very focused on evictions and unemployment, and if we can’t reach an agreement by then, the president wants to look at giving us more time to negotiate this.”
“We’re focused on those two things, we want to take care of them now, the rest we can discuss later,” he added.
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Sunday that the White House would seek to “lengthen” the moratorium, but he did not say for how long.
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