With stimulus talks at an impasse in Congress, President Donald Trump on Saturday signed a series of executive orders to provide temporary relief to Americans suffering from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. “We’ve had it,” he said. “We’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American worker.”
The four executive orders will …
- provide an additional $400 per week in unemployment benefits,
- suspend payments on some student loans through the end of the year,
- protect renters from being evicted from their homes, and
- instruct employers to defer certain payroll taxes through the end of the year for Americans who earn less than $100,000 annually.
But questions remain as to whether Trump has the legal authority to take these actions — or the money to pay for them.
A scramble for unemployment aid
It’s unclear whether Trump has the authority to extend enhanced unemployment benefits by executive action while side-stepping Congress. Trump directed the use of funds from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, which would be capped at $44 billion. Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, estimates that the additional aid will last just over a month — or about $10 billion per week.
A bill still in the works?
Democratic congressional leaders and White House officials said Sunday they are willing to continue negotiations on a new coronavirus stimulus package.
Source: USA Today