Coronavirus: Trump signs relief order after talks at Congress collapse

Elias Hubbard
August 9, 2020

Democrats, pointing to Republicans' decision to wait months to introduce a Senate counterproposal to the House's successful May legislation and relative disunity once they did, have refused to budge from their demands, such as to extend the expanded $600 per week federal unemployment benefit.

The payroll tax is deferred from 1 September to 31 December, 2020, with employees obliged to repay the federal government after the tax holiday ends. Some economists have said that, by acting unilaterally, Trump could get lawmakers back to the table.

A screenshot taken from C-Span's live broadcast shows U.S. President Donald Trump signing a series of executive orders to extend certain COVID-19 economic relief in New Jersey, the United States, on August 8, 2020.

"If I'm victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax", Trump declared. Flipping three seats would give Democrats control if they win the White House, because the vice president holds the tie-breaking vote.

Navarro added that the President's constituency is mainstream Republicans, blue collar Democrats and independents "who are sick and exhausted of the swamp" before arguing that Trump "could have just let this keep going, and he did not".

Trump also said he was suspending collection of payroll taxes, which pay for Social Security and other federal programs, an idea that he has repeatedly raised but has been rejected by both parties in Congress.

Trump's move signals a possible collapse in negotiations with congressional Democrats over an additional coronavirus relief package, with the two sides trillions of dollars apart on key issues, including aid to state governments and the amount of supplementary unemployment benefits. He said 25% of it would be paid by states, whose budgets have been hard hit by the crisis.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also lashed out at Trump's executive actions, calling them "half-baked".

Earlier in the week, talks on a fourth round of aid to address the public health crisis and economic woes triggered by the coronavirus pandemic stalled as Congressional Democrats pushed for a larger spending package and vowed to file a legal challenge if President Donald Trump acted through executive orders to circumvent Congress.

Pelosi insisted that Democrats were willing to meet in the middle, and acknowledged that Americans need help. "What they really want is bailout money for Democrat governors and mayors that have been run very very badly for many years", Trump said.

"We have to reach an agreement", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told "Fox News Sunday". "The only solution to crush the virus and protect working families is to pass a comprehensive bill that is equal to the historic health and economic catastrophe facing our country".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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