President Donald Trump signed four executive actions Saturday for coronavirus economic relief, after lawmakers failed to reach a deal on Friday. Trump accused Democrats of stonewalling greater aid efforts.
Trump’s executive action calls for $400-per-week in supplemental unemployment aid on top of existing state unemployment benefits, and would require states to pay for 25 percent of the $400 weekly benefit, while the federal government would pick up 75 percent.
Up to $44 billion would be diverted from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to cover the unemployment program. The extra unemployment help would last until Dec. 6 or until the Disaster Relief Fund balance drops to $25 billion.
Payroll Tax holiday
Trump deferred the payroll tax from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, for employees making $100,000 or less a year. Employees would need to repay the federal government once the tax holiday ends without further action, which Trump promised to take if re-elected.
“If I’m victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax,” Trump said. “Joe Biden and the Democrats may not want that, they don’t want that.”
Assistance to Renters and Homeowners
Trump’s executive action would encourage federal efforts to help renters and homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure for failing to make their monthly payments. He directed his administration to identify available funds to “provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners who, as a result of the financial hardships caused by COVID-19, are struggling to meet their monthly rental or mortgage obligations.”
Extension of Student Loan Relief
The executive action suspends federal student loan payments and sets interest rates to 0 percent through Dec. 31, 2020. The current student loan relief programs were to expire on Sept. 30.
The president has the power to issue these executive orders on a temporary basis in times of crisis, though it is likely his actions will be challenged in court at some point.
There is no $1200 payment to all Americans at this time because it can’t be done legally by executive orders.
Whitehouse aides acknowledged they didn’t meet the needs of all that was required.
“This is not a perfect answer – we’ll be the first ones to say that,” Meadows said Friday as talks broke down. “But it is all that we can do and all the president can do within the confines of his executive power, and we’re going to encourage him to do it.”