August 8, 2020|Daily News Update, US POLITICS
President Trump Provides Economic Relief To Struggling Americans:
Donald Trump’s latest move may have improved his chance of reelection
While Senators Mitch McConnell, Charles Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are playing politics with the lives of American citizens, President Trump early Saturday morning signed executive orders to extend unemployment benefits, suspend payroll taxes, and offer federal eviction and student loan relief, taking unilateral action to provide reliefs that Americans so desperately need.
From his private club in Bedminster, N.J. where he is spending the weekend, the President announced a series of executive actions after lawmakers on Capitol Hill were unable to reach an agreement with White House negotiators.
One executive order extends the enhanced unemployment benefits that expired roughly two weeks ago and has been critical to millions of Americans out of work due to the pandemic. The benefits will be lowered from $600 to $400 per week, with states required to cover 25 percent of the cost, Trump said.
Another order directs the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer payment of employee-side payroll taxes through the end of 2020 for Americans earning less than $100,000 annually.
The President said, “If I win, I may extend and terminate. In other words, I’ll extend it beyond the end of the year and terminate the tax.”
The other two additional orders put a freeze on evictions in federal housing and pause student loan payments through the end of the year.
Reading from prepared remarks, the President said, “Through these four actions, my administration will provide vital relief to Americans struggling during this difficult time.”
Experts have questioned Trump’s authority to intervene on unemployment benefits and the payroll tax unilaterally, and his actions on Saturday may face legal challenges. But Trump shrugged off questions about the legality of the orders late Friday saying, “I mean, everything you do, you get sued,” he said. “So we’ll see. Yeah, probably we get sued, but people feel that we can do it.”
Trump, who has made the economy a central focus of his reelection effort, began signaling over the past week that he was prepared to act unilaterally on economic priorities should the virus relief talks stall.
Trump’s action followed the release of Labor Department figures showing that the U.S. added 1.8 million jobs during the month of July and saw a decline in the unemployment rate to 10.2 percent. The figures exceeded expectations; however, economists have underscored the need for more federal assistance to aid the ailing economy. Trump has been pushing for a payroll tax cut for months.