BY TYLER O’NEIL
President Donald Trump issued four executive orders extending relief during the coronavirus pandemic after Democrats in Congress refused to compromise with the White House to pass a relief bill. Trump has almost certainly exceeded his authority with these orders, and Democrats plan to challenge them in court. Yet by signing these orders, the president called their bluff. Democrats refused to work with him to secure coronavirus relief, planning to make Trump look heartless. In response, the president called their bluff, and now Democrats have to fight against the relief Americans need.
“We have repeatedly stated our willingness to immediately sign legislation providing expanded unemployment benefits, protecting Americans from eviction, and providing additional relief payments to families,” Trump said. “Democrats have refused these offers.”
Before signing the relief bills, the president noted that the Democratic package included many items completely unrelated to economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic.
“So the Democrat bill includes stimulus checks for illegal aliens, they require the mass release of illegal aliens from detention, they also compel the mass release of inmates, including serious felons,” Trump said. “What does this have to do with stimulus, the economy? What does this have to do with the coronavirus?”
The president signed four executive orders. He provided a “payroll tax holiday to Americans earning less than $100,000 per year,” directing the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer payments.
He also directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to save renters and homeowners from eviction.
Trump ordered the extension of extra unemployment payments, as well. Democrats had demanded supplemental unemployment checks continue at $600 per week as before, but Republicans said the checks should be cut down to an extra $200 per week. Trump’s order represents a compromise, extending them at an extra $400 per week.
Finally, Trump signed an order extending a suspension of student loan payments. The suspension was set to expire on September 30, but Trump extended it through November.