Trump said he would use unspent Cares Law funds to continue unemployment payments to millions of newly unemployed Americans at a rate of $ 400 per week – a drop of $ 200 from the previous payment of $ 600, defer payroll taxes until the end of 2020, defer student loans and interest, and extend the federal moratorium on evictions.
Democrats, who are likely to challenge the orders in court, had been pushing for a resumption of the additional $ 600 aid, which ended on July 31, saying it was a lifeline for those most in need. hardest hit by the economic crisis.
“Congressional Democrats have blocked our efforts to extend this aid,” Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf club, “Trump said from a ballroom at the resort where club members, wearing masks, were asked to stand in the back.
Trump has said he has also cut taxes on income and capital gains, although he has not put forward specific proposals. He promised to extend and make the pay cuts permanent “if I win in November”.
Action to extend unemployment benefits, cut payroll taxes, continue to suspend tenant evictions and ease the burden of student debt came in one decree and three memoranda.
Asked by a reporter why $ 400 instead of the previous $ 600, Trump replied, “This is the money they need, this is the money they want, it gives them a big incentive to go back to work. ” He added: “There was a problem with the number 600 because it was really a deterrent.”
Trump used the event to attack Democrats, accusing party leaders of attempting to haul emergency spending with voter ID reforms that would amount to an attempt to ‘steal the election’, stimulus checks for illegal aliens and early release from prison for criminals.
“What does this have to do with the coronavirus? It has nothing to do with what we were talking about? The Democrats, Trump claimed, had been taken over by “the radical left so they can go to Portland and try to tear the place apart.”
The announcement came a day after negotiations with Congressional Democrats over a broad pandemic aid package collapsed with the two sides roughly $ 1 billion apart in the amount of money that ‘they want to pledge to extend their support to millions of people facing economic hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In comments to the New York Times released on Saturday ahead of Trump’s announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was unwilling to comply with the administration’s demands for an interim solution. “We don’t do short-term action because if we act short-term they won’t do anything else,” she said, adding, “This president is the biggest failure in our history. ”
In a hastily-staged press conference on Friday, Trump promised not only to suspend payroll taxes and extend unemployment benefits, but also to postpone student loan payments indefinitely and write off interest, and extend a moratorium on tenant evictions.
The deadlock meant that the federal jobless pandemic bonus of $ 600 per week, which expired at the end of July, would be lost and potentially lead to a sharp increase in poverty and homelessness rates.
Trump had vowed to use his “authority as president to give Americans the relief they need,” but constitutional law experts have cast doubts that executive power is extending to relief spending without permission from Congress, but Trump vowed to override any roadblocks Democrats tried to put up.
“If Democrats continue to hold this critical aid hostage, I will act under my leadership as president to give Americans the help they need,” the president said ahead of Saturday’s announcement.
Democrats have complained that the White House has rejected their offer to cut their larger demand for coronavirus relief from $ 3 billion to $ 2 billion. Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, said he urged negotiators in the administration led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to accept the offer.
“Don’t say it’s your way or not,” Schumer said, noting that the Republican offer “doesn’t cover the opening of schools. It does not cover testing. This does not cover the management of rental assistance. It does not cover elections. It doesn’t cover so many things.
The Republican package, they added, also did not include additional direct payments of $ 1,200 to individuals, money for states to hold an election in November, or support for the besieged U.S. Postal Service, which the U.S. said. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “at the heart of life. of our democracy ”in an election year in which many Americans will vote by mail.
Republicans countered that Democratic Party leaders ignore the limits of their position.