President Donald Trump will suspend wage tax and extend expired unemployment benefits after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus bailout collapse.
Trump signed four executive orders related to what he called "China Virus Relief" during a press conference on Saturday afternoon at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.
It was hours before the White House signaled that Washington's stalemate had forced it to act as the pandemic undermined the country's economy and the November elections drew near.
Threatening to bypass elected lawmakers during a Friday night briefing, Trump said, "If Democrats continue to hold this critical hostage hostage, I will act under my authority as President to give Americans the relief they need."
The president turned his official Saturday event into a semi-political rally, launching broadsides against Democratic rival Joe Biden and the news media as members of his Bedminster golf club laughed at his lines of scrimmage.
Trump redoubled his strikes against Congressional Democrats, accusing them of blocking a compromise relief agreement because they want "bailouts for states that have been badly managed for many years".
"A lot of the left-wing directives that are pushing them have nothing to do with the corona," Trump said.
President Donald Trump signed four by-laws to suspend wage tax and extend expired unemployment benefits after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus bailout collapsed. Trump is pictured at a press conference announcing orders at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club on Saturday
The four executive orders include:
- A payroll tax vacation from September 1 to December 31 for employees earning less than $ 96,000 per year
- Federal Unemployment Benefit of $ 400 per week retroactive to the week of August 1
- Deferred student loan payments and waived interest on federal loans through December 31
- A moratorium on evictions and foreclosures likely to only apply to homes with government-secured mortgages
The sweeping steps raise legal questions about the president's authority to take such steps, given that Congress has sole authority to collect taxes and appropriate funds. However, the orders claim powers under the national emergency declared in March in response to the pandemic.
Trump first announced an order that would allow employers to defer payroll tax until the end of the year.
The second order included a freeze on evictions, allowing severely affected tenants to stay in their homes even if they cannot afford payments.
A third contract, perhaps the most important, will extend the expired unemployment benefit and give people an additional $ 400 a week – up from the $ 600 that was part of the relief package that expired this month.
"It's $ 400 a week and we're doing it without the Democrats," said Trump, calling on states to pay 25 percent of the cost. It wasn't immediately clear where the federal stake would come from – although the president suggested using unspent funds from previous coronavirus relief laws – and Trump said it was up to states to determine how much, if any, to fund .
Trump noted that getting a franchise deal with Democrats looking to renew the original $ 600 a week should never have been a problem.
Republicans originally proposed $ 200 a week and then increased their offer to $ 400, but Democrats still said it wasn't enough. This was one of the main differences that made it impossible to reach a legislative deal.
When asked if reducing the fringe benefits to $ 400 would be a “hardship” for the millions currently eligible, Trump replied, “No, it's not a hardship, this is the money they need, that is Money they want and that gives them a great incentive to get back to work. & # 39;
"And, as you know, they were different, there was trouble with the $ 600 number because it was really daunting," he added, referring to the fact that the federal $ 600 supplement was the average unemployment benefit conditions were more than 30 above the average wage.
The fourth and final order extends the suspension of student loan payments until the end of the year.
Speaking of the new orders, Trump said, “We didn't think we had to (take executive action), but the Democrats were unreasonable. Not just unreasonable, ridiculous. & # 39;
Trump signs the first of his four executive orders as supporters cheered on Saturday
The President proudly showed his signature before briefly answering reporters' questions
So far, Trump has remained largely on the sidelines during his administration's negotiations with the leaders of Congress.
The talks that collapsed in the last few days were led by Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Democrats said they would cut their spending requirements from $ 3.4 trillion to $ 2 trillion, but the White House had to increase its supply. Republicans have proposed a $ 1 trillion plan.
White House staff watched the talks collapse with concern. They feared that failure to close a deal could further damage an economic recovery that is already showing signs of slowing.
Friday's job report, while better than expected, was smaller than the last two months, partly because the virus resurgence has led states to roll back their reopenings.
The president's team believes that the economy must stabilize and show signs of growth in order for him to stand a chance of re-election.
Aiders hoped to phrase the expected signing of executive orders as a sign that Trump had taken action at a time of crisis.
However, this would also reinforce the view that the president, who declared his position as dealmaker, was unable to lead the process to an agreement.
In addition, the expected orders would be smaller than the legislation of Congress.
"This is not a perfect answer – we'll be the first to say that," Meadows said on Friday as talks broke down.
"But it is all we can do and everything the president can do within his executive powers and we will encourage him to do so."
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (right) speak to reporters after meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Chairman Senator Chuck Schumer while they continue over one Negotiate coronavirus support agreement
Trump did not specify how the wage tax deferral would work, and it was unclear whether he was empowered to take such action without the approval of Congress.
The move would not help unemployed workers who do not pay the tax when they are unemployed and would meet bipartisan opposition in Congress.
The cut, long a Trump request, would impact payroll taxes, which cover Medicare and Social Security benefits and are supposed to take 7 percent of an employee's income. Employers also pay 7.65 percent of their pay slips into the funds.
Both the House and Senate have left Washington, and members have been sent home on orders to return to vote on an agreement.
With no agreement in sight, their absence increased the possibility of a prolonged stalemate that stretched well into August and even September.
Often a dead end in Washington is of little concern to the public – but not this time.
This would mean more trouble for millions of people losing more unemployment benefits and further damage to an economy ravaged by the still raging coronavirus.
The negotiations on Friday in the Capitol were just "a disappointing meeting," said New York Democratic Senate Chairman Chuck Schumer.
He said the White House had rejected an offer from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California, to curb Democratic demands by about $ 1 trillion.
Schumer called on the White House to negotiate with Democrats and meet us in the middle. Don't say it's your way or not. & # 39;
That Capitol Hill meeting followed a combative Thursday night meeting that for the first time raised real doubts about the ability of the Trump administration and Democrats to unite on a fifth COVID-19 response bill.
Pelosi declared the talks as good as dead until Meadows and Mnuchin fell under their feet.
The breakdown in negotiations is particularly distressing for schools, which are counting on billions of dollars from Washington to cover the cost of reopening.
But other priorities are suffering as well, including a new round of $ 1,200 in direct payments to most people, a cash feed for the struggling postal service, and money to help states hold elections in November.
Mnuchin said the renewal of a $ 600 weekly pandemic unemployment rate and the huge demands by Democrats for help to state and local governments are the key areas they are stuck in.
Democrats have offered to significantly reduce their nearly $ 1 trillion demand for state and local governments, but some of the cost savings suggested by Pelosi would come primarily from shortening the timeframe for services like grocery stamps.
Pelosi and Schumer continue to insist on a huge rescue package to counter spike in cases and deaths, double-digit unemployment and the threat of poverty to millions of the new unemployed.
The Senate Republicans were split, and roughly half the majority of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were against any other bailout bill at all.
Four previous coronavirus response bills valued at nearly $ 3 trillion have won bipartisan vote despite heated arguments, but Conservatives have pulled back amid the prospect of another Pelosi-brokered deal at a whopping deficit-financed cost.
McConnell stayed out of the negotiations and coordinated with Mnuchin and Meadows.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Coronavirus (t) Donald Trump