What’s in President Trump’s Executive Actions to Extend Coronavirus Relief?
Do you support or oppose President Trump’s executive actions to extend coronavirus relief?
by Causes | 8.9.20
What’s the story?
- At a press event at the Trump National Golf Club on Saturday, President Donald Trump signed four executive actions aimed at extending coronavirus relief benefits that expired recently.
- Trump’s executive actions have been criticized as unconstitutional, and come amid an impasse in negotiations between the White House and Democrats in Congress on a coronavirus relief package.
What were the executive actions on coronavirus relief?
Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019
- This memorandum would use funding from the Stafford Act’s Disaster Relief Fund to extend the enhancement of unemployment benefits of up to $400 per week ($300 of it federal funding) to people receiving at least $100 of state unemployment benefits, pandemic unemployment benefits, short-time compensation, or other designated programs.
- Up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund would go to supplementing state unemployment benefits, with funds disbursed at the statutorily mandated 75% federal cost share (meaning states need to contribute 25% to receive the federal funds).
- It would continue to pay lost wages assistance for eligible claimants until the Disaster Relief Fund reaches $25 billion, or until weeks of unemployment ending not later than December 6, 2020. At least $25 billion of total Disaster Relief Fund balances would be set aside to support ongoing disaster response & recovery efforts, and potential 2020 major disaster costs.
Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster
- This memorandum would defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of payroll taxes for employees’ wages or compensation paid from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
- The deferral would be available to any employee whose wages or compensation payable during any bi-weekly period is generally less than $4,000 on a pre-tax basis.
- The Treasury Secretary would be directed to explore avenues, including legislation, to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred pursuant to the implementation of this memorandum.
Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners
- This executive order would direct the Secretary of Health & Human Services & the CDC Director to consider whether temporarily halting residential evictions of tenants for failure to pay rent are reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
- It would also direct the Treasury Secretary & Housing and Urban Development Secretary to identify funds to provide temporary financial assistance to renters & homeowners and provide such assistance; and to review authorities that may be used to prevent evictions and foreclosures.
Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- This memorandum would direct the Dept. of Education to extend deferments of student loan payments that are set to end on September 30th until December 31, 2020.
What are both sides saying?
- President Trump said the following at a briefing and signing ceremony:
“In the current negotiations, 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. Democrats have refused these offers; they want to negotiate. What they really want is bailout money for states that are run by Democrat governors and mayors, and that have been run very badly for many, many years — and many decades, in fact.”
- In an interview on Fox News Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she agreed with Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R-NE) comments that President Trump’s actions are “unconstitutional slop” and added that they are also weak:
“While it has the illusion of saying we’re going to have a moratorium on evictions, it says I’m gonna ask the folks in charge to study if that’s feasible. While he says he’s going to do the payroll tax, what he’s doing is undermining Social Security and medicare, so these are illusions.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: White House via Flickr / Public Domain)
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