President Donald Trump is seeking immediate action on higher unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions while Congress members debate on a larger COVID-19 relief bill, said White House adviser Peter Navarro in a Monday interview.
Navarro told CNN that policymakers should pass a more limited package over the coming days to buy more time. Republicans and Democrats are currently at an impasse over several measures, namely unemployment insurance, as most Democrats support extending the $600-per-week program that expired last week, and many Republicans do not.
“President Donald J. Trump is a working-class president,” Navarro said, adding that he “cares deeply” about Americans who work with their hands” who are currently unemployed.
“Our side was more than happy to [temporarily extend] unemployment” benefits and a moratorium on evictions, he said. He then accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats of refusing to pass a “temporary, short-term” extension of those benefits.
“Who got hurt there?” he asked. “American workers and people with the threat of eviction.”
Trump over the weekend accused top Democrats of “holding back the $1,200 to $3,400 (family of four) checks that were ready to be sent out.”
He added that they are also blocking “desperately needed unemployment payments, which is so terrible, especially since they fully understand that it was not the workers’ fault that they are unemployed, it’s the fault of China.”
Last week, Senate Republicans unveiled a $200-per-week unemployment benefits program in the HEALS Act before replacing their wages up to 70 percent. Democrats said the amount isn’t enough, while adding that the measure does not include funding for state and local governments.
Pelosi on Monday said Democrats are seeking to keep the $600-per-week benefits while the jobless rate remains high.
“I think that the number, the $600, is related more to the unemployment rate. If the unemployment goes down, then that number can go down,” she said. “A building is on fire and they are deciding how much water they want to have in the bucket. Millions of people could have fallen into poverty without this $600,” Pelosi said.
One of the few things that Democrats and Republicans can agree on, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is sending out $1,200 direct stimulus payments.
“There’s definitely areas of agreement,” Mnuchin, who is the lead White House negotiator, told ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, adding that there is “enormous bipartisan support” for stimulus checks.
Included in the HEALS Act proposed last week by Senate Republicans are payments of up to $1,200 for people earning $75,000 or less and $500 payments for children. Democrats, in the competing HEROES Act, proposed sending $1,200 stimulus payments for qualifying adults and children as well.
The HEALS Act and HEROES Act are both intended to offset economic damage incurred in the midst of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. As governors moved to curb the spread of the virus by shutting down businesses, tens of millions of people filed for unemployment insurance.
There has been growing speculation that at the end of August, as the expanded unemployment benefits expire and a federal moratorium ended on July 25, that millions of people will be evicted from their rental properties.