President Trump on Saturday announced multiple executive actions intended to extend economic aid, as Congress remains in a stalemate over the next coronavirus relief package. The measures will likely face legal challenges, however, as Trump attempts to bypass the legislative policy-making process.
The president said during a press conference at his golf club in Bedminister, New Jersey, that, via executive order, he would unilaterally renew expanded unemployment benefits, hold off student loan payments, and extend a moratorium on evictions. Additionally, Trump said the action authorizes the Treasury Department to defer payroll taxes for Americans making less than $100,000 per year. He suggested he may extend the deferral if he's re-elected in November and ultimately terminate the tax, although his stance on the matter is at odds with both parties in Congress.
The extended unemployment boost under Trump's order would have an additional $400/week go to individuals who lost their job because of the pandemic, landing between the previous $600/week figure and the $200/week plan discussed by Republicans lawmakers.
Trump did not participate directly in negotiations with congressional leaders in recent days, according to The Associated Press, and, in addition to the legal ambiguity, "Trump's embrace of executive actions to sidestep Congress runs in sharp contrast to his criticism of former President Barack Obama's use of executive orders on a more limited basis."