Trump signs executive order on coronavirus relief without $1,200 checks after rambling attack on Democrats
With talks for a new coronavirus stimulus package stalled, President Donald Trump signed a package of coronavirus stimulus measures that he will seek to implement unilaterally by executive action.
“This pretty much takes care of the whole situation,” Trump said before exiting the contentious event.
“We’re coming back very strong,” he added. “We’re doing great with the virus.”
Trump moved to extend a scaled-down emergency unemployment benefits and an eviction ban, along with relaxing rules for repaying college loans.
Trump reduced the extended unemployment benefit to $400 instead of the previous $600, and ordered states to foot 25% of the bill.
Trump also moved to suspend payroll taxes for those making $100,000 a year or less.
He pointedly did not propose sending a new round of $1,200 checks to all American taxpayers, perhaps the most popular coronavirus stimulus measure.
Before actually signing the measures, Trump went into a rambling campaign-style speech against Democratic rival Joe Biden and his allies.
Trump slammed Democrats for proposing billions in aid to hard-pressed states and cities along with what he derided as a wish list of liberal spending.
“They want to bailout states that have been very badly managed for years if not decades,” Trump said. “It has nothing to do with the China virus at all.”
He also railed against the Democratic proposals to give billions in aid to states to hold elections during the COVID-19 crisis when millions of more voters want to vote by mail.
“They want to steal the election,” Trump said. “That’s all this is about.”
Trump signed the measures after summoning reporters to a rare Saturday press conference at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending the weekend. The room was packed with members of Trump’s club, and supporters cheered the president and jeered at reporters.
Trump had already spoken about taking executive action to implement or extend some stimulus provisions after talks with Congress hit a dead end Friday.
On the emergency unemployment benefits, the payment was set at $600 a week before it expired last weekend after Congress failed to reach a deal to extend it.
Extending the ban on evictions has wide support among Democrats, although they also want emergency cash assistance to renters.
On the other hand, the moratorium on payroll tax collection is unpopular. Republicans and Democratic lawmakers alike dislike the proposal because it economists say it will have little immediate boost on the troubled economy, and has a very high price tag.
There is significant dispute about the legality of any unilateral presidential action enacting new spending like the unemployment benefit since the Constitution grants the power of the purse to Congress, not the president.
Trump is acting to signal he has lost patience with the stalled talks with Democratic leaders in Congress for a giant new stimulus package.
He claimed he is acting to shuffle unspent cash from the previous $1 trillion CARES Act.
Democrats passed a sprawling $3 trillion plan months ago. After sitting on their hands for several weeks, Republicans and the White House eventually hammered out a much smaller $1 trillion package.
Talks for a compromise have made little progress.
©2020 New York Daily News
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.