Trump's orders to extend certain COVID-19 relief draw criticism from Democrats

Ruben Hill
August 10, 2020

Jobless workers had been receiving a $600 weekly bonus since March, when Congress funded the expanded payments to provide financial support to the unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the $100 share from states would come from from an earlier pool of federal money and that Trump may waive the requirement about how it can be used.

Pelosi and other senior Democrats suggested that the president's attempts to unilaterally chart spending and tax policy - normally the purview of Congress - might well fall apart on their own, as top Trump lieutenants struggled to explain the envisioned mechanisms for carrying out the president's wishes, at times contradicting one another.

President Trump, speaking in the ballroom of his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club with an audience of club members cheering him and laughing at his colourful insults against opponents, said he was also working on new tax cut ideas.

Mr Trump also signed executive orders holding off student loan payments and extending the freeze on evictions.

Rudalevige added that he expects legal challenges to move "fairly rapidly", citing the specific measures regarding unemployment appropriations and the payroll tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare. Trump said if he is reelected, he would look into making this tax cut permanent.

"Well, the fact is, is that whether they're legal or not takes time to figure out".

Mr Biden, President Trump's rival in the November election, accused him of putting Social Security "at grave risk" by delaying the collection of payroll taxes, and called the measures "another cynical ploy created to deflect responsibility".

The use of executive actions drew criticism from Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

"The concept of saying to states, 'you pay 25% of the unemployment insurance, ' is just laughable", the governor said on Sunday during a coronavirus teleconference with reporters.

In an appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Trump's executive actions unconstitutional but sidestepped a question about whether she would sue to block them. "Right now the focus, the priority, has to be on. meeting the needs of the American people".

"The Lord and the Founding Fathers created executive orders because of partisan bickering and divided government", he said.

Lindsey Graham said of the move, "I appreciate the President taking this decisive action but would much prefer a congressional agreement".

With talks stalled and a weekly $600 unemployment bonus expired last week, Trump recently bypassed Congress by issuing executive orders that could provide a $400 weekly enhancement to unemployment benefits, calling on states to cover a quarter of the costs. He said in a statement, "Struggling Americans need action now". Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said if the president truly "cared about helping Americans, he would have demanded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell start negotiating as soon as the House passed the HEROES act nearly two months ago".

The Democratic leaders called on their Republican counterparts to "return to the table, meet us halfway and work together to deliver immediate relief to the American people".

"We were at $3.4 trillion in the bill that Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats passed twelve weeks ago", Durbin, the current Senate minority whip, told the news outlet, referring to the House Democrat-passed HEROES Act.

"I'm confident that every single one of these orders, which cleared through the Office of Legal Counsel, will stand up", Navarro said. "That is not the way to create a deal".

Both Schumer and Pelosi reiterated on Sunday that they hope talks will resume.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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