But there was some recognition that the measures could face legal challenges and were not as powerful as the action of Congress.
A number of key provisions are also left unanswered without a broader deal, including an outdated federal small business program, another round of stimulus checks, help for schools facing early in the academic year, and funds. for state and local governments in shock. of the pandemic.
“The downside to executive orders is that you can’t fix some of the small business incidents that are out there,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in a pre-recorded interview broadcast Sunday on Gray Television. . “You can’t necessarily get direct payments, because it’s about credits. This is something the president does not have the capacity to do.
White House lawyers had worked out the executive actions over the past two weeks. On Friday, after talks stalled, it became clear that they needed to move forward with the plan. According to a senior administration official, Mr. Trump was eager to sign the payroll tax order on Friday night, but after his legal team said he was not yet ready, he chose to do so. do Saturday at his Bedminster Golf Club.
In recent days, officials had debated what measures to employ, with Mr Mnuchin resisting the payroll tax suspension and Mr Kudlow arguing for it, according to a senior administration official. Although White House officials believe the executive’s actions have given Trump the upper hand, his advisers continue to say increased support for schools and another round of stimulus checks are needed to keep the government going. economic recovery back on track.
Among the more complicated measures is the president’s intention to revive stale weekly federal unemployment payments of $ 600 by reusing other federal funds, including from a disaster relief pot, to create a bonus payout of $ 400 per week. This payment, however, is conditional on states providing $ 100 per week and establishing an entirely new program – called the “Lost Wage Assistance Program” – to distribute the aid.
But states are also facing declining revenues due to the pandemic. They’ve already struggled to allocate the upfront payment of $ 600 due to overwhelmed and often outdated systems, and some experts warn the revised benefit could only last for five weeks.