COVID-19 Economy Stimulus Battle: Dems Fight Pres. Trump’s New Executive Actions
President Trump signed four new executive actions, bypassing Congress in an effort to ease some of the burden of the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes as the U.S. reaches another sobering milestone of 5 million coronavirus cases.
The president signed the four new executive actions on Saturday.
Now the recently-expired $600 a week supplement to unemployment benefits would be cut to $400.
The president said only some states will be expected to chip in about a quarter of the money for the benefits.
Another big change is a measure to defer student loan payments and payroll tax withholdings for some workers.The president said there may still be room to negotiate with Deomocrats on a new coronavirus relief package.
“We’ve gotten much of what we wanted and they didn’t get what they wanted and they would have. And I guess they still could, in all fairness,” he said.
But Democrats say the president’s new actions are unlawful, making it even more important for Congress to make a deal on a new stimulus package.
Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi says, “The president’s meager, weak and unconstitutional actions further demand that we have an agreement.”
And Sen. Chuck Schumer, SENATE minority leader, says, “It’s so put together in a crazy way. If he just would have renewed the $600, as we do in the HEROES bill through January, things would flow smoothly.”
The president’s new measure on evictions is another big sticking point for Democrats and Republicans.
It would not renew a freeze on removing tenants from properties with government-backed mortgages. Instead, it would have the government look for ways to help those on the brink.
As we just mentioned, part of President Trump’s executive actions require states to cover 25% of federal unemployment payments.
If they don’t, unemployed workers wouldn’t receive any federal assistance.
This comes as many states are facing significant budget challenges during the pandemic.
Michigan projected a more than $3 billion shortfall earlier this year.
In a statement, Gov. Whitmer says:
“Once again, the president has refused to work together with Congress on a bipartisan recovery package that supports our states, families, frontline workers, and small businesses. He has routinely proven that he’s more focused on his chances in the November election than fighting the virus that has killed more than 160,000 Americans.
“The president’s recent actions do nothing to protect the millions of unemployed Americans who need to put food on the table for themselves and their families. He cut federal funding for unemployed workers and is requiring states that are facing severe holes in our budgets to provide 25% of the funding. His refusal to provide full federal funding to states across the country to help us combat this virus will hurt the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis, like our first responders, health care workers, child care workers, and more.
“The president has repeatedly said that it’s time for our kids to return to school for in-person learning, but he won’t work with Congressional leaders to provide districts with the support they need to keep students, educators, and support staff safe. His executive actions yesterday do nothing to protect our kids from the spread of this virus.
“It’s time for the president to do the right thing, stop playing political games, and work with Congress on a recovery package that will help us fight this virus, protect working families, and send our kids, educators, and support staff back to school safely.”