President Donald Trump said he will use an executive order to extend unemployment benefits until the end of the year.
The president said he would also consider continuing other coronavirus aid if no deal can be reached with Democrats on a new spending bill.
Congress is locked in a bipartisan row over another stimulus bill and a package of measures to help the American economy which has been ransacked by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The White House had rejected an offer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to curb Democratic demands by about $1 trillion but Mr Trump said he could issue executive orders if he is unable to reach a broad agreement with Congress.
It is unclear how the president might be able to do those things unilaterally, particularly extending expanded unemployment benefits. In addition, he did not specify at what amount the expanded benefits would continue.
America’s jobless rate is 10.2 per cent, with an extra 10.6m Americans unemployed compared to before the pandemic.
The White House at one point suggested $400 a week in federal benefits for the unemployed, but Democrats rejected it and have refused to do a separate deal, saying they wanted a comprehensive package that also included money for state and local governments and other matters.
More than 300 US mayors this week sent a letter to Trump requesting $250 billion in direct federal aid to cities across the country. US state governors of both parties have asked Congress for another $500 billion.