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Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The White House is finalizing a series of executive orders addressing key coronavirus stimulus priorities if negotiations with Congress fall apart, and it's leaving the door open for President Trump to use them even if a deal is reached that doesn't encompass all of his priorities, two administration officials tell Axios.

What we’re hearing: “I wouldn't be surprised that, if something gets left off the table, we’d be like ‘we can take this executive action too and be able to win on it anyway,’” one official said.

Details: The most likely executive orders would be one to suspend payroll taxes and another to let states use money already allocated in the CARES Act to make unemployment insurance supplemental payments.

  • Trump said Thursday that he expects to sign the executive orders as early as today.

Why it matters: Several of the benefits laid out in the CARES Act have already expired or are close to expiring, and leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are still far apart on reaching an agreement on a new tranche of funding.

Behind the scenes: Trump and his top negotiators, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, still prefer to do this legislatively — because they could get huge chunks of money that the White House can’t produce on its own and a bipartisan bill would receive broader support.

  • But the president is also anxious to be seen as being in control of the process, the officials said. Top aides and Republicans have also told him that if they don’t succeed at producing some sort of economic package, Americans will see it as a White House failure.
  • “It’s an election year. We need to get this done. We need to pump money into the economy and the only ones who benefit politically from not doing that are [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer and [Joe] Biden,” one House Republican told Axios.
  • The lawmaker noted that Pelosi and House Democrats already passed a bill, while the Senate has struggled to get support for their own.

What they're saying: “Certainly there are limitations with what we can do from an executive order point of view, but we will be as aggressive and robust as we possibly can be,” Meadows told reporters Thursday evening. “At this point, we're trying to be prepared.”

  • White House spokesman Judd Deere told Axios: “A legislative solution is the priority, but negotiations are a two-way street and Democrats are unfortunately playing politics, which is why President Trump is fully prepared to use his executive authority to help those who continue to be impacted by this virus from China.”

Go deeper

Department of Homeland Security calls election "the most secure in American history"

President Trump signed the act that established the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

A top committee made up of officials from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and its election partners refuted President Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and irregularities in a statement Thursday, calling the election "the most secure in American history."

The big picture: Trump has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden and is pursuing lawsuits in a number of states with baseless claims of voter fraud. The public statement from the president's own Department of Homeland Security undermines his narrative and is sure to infuriate him.

More than 130 Secret Service officers reportedly under coronavirus quarantine

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

More than 130 Secret Service officers are quarantining due to positive coronavirus tests or exposure to a co-worker who has tested positive, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Officials told the Post that they believe the cases at least partly stem from President Trump's run of campaign rallies before Election Day. The number of officers forced off-duty — roughly 10% of its core security team — could stress the Secret Service at large, forcing overtime and missed days off to make up for the strain.

Updated Nov 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden elected president, AP projects

Biden in Los Angeles in March. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Associated Press projects Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States, ousting President Trump after a single term marked by impeachment, constant battles, a disastrous response to the deadly coronavirus pandemic and an unexpectedly close election.

Kamala Harris will join him as the first woman and first female person of color to be elected vice president — a historic breakthrough largely overshadowed by the turmoil surrounding the election. The news drew cheering crowds to the White House, while Biden made plans to address the nation at 8 pm Eastern.