Trump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief stories falter

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as Sheriff Trump blames opinion that Russia denigrates Biden: ‘No one is harder on Russia than I am’ Trump truncates executive orders over economy but will not yet report On Saturday, executive orders were signed to extend unemployment benefits, cut payroll taxes, and offer federal student loan relief and relief, to take unilateral action that is on shaky legal ground amid stalemate negotiations over a fifth round of relief from coronavirus in Congress.

The president announced the move to executive action from his private club in Bedminster, NJ, where he will spend the weekend after Capitol Hill lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement with White House negotiators.

The president has not been physically present for any of the talks in the last few weeks, but has said he has received regular updates from his staff.

One executive mission expands improved unemployment benefits that expired about two weeks ago, which have been critical to millions of unemployed Americans because of the pandemic. The benefits will be reduced from $ 600 to $ 400 per week, with states required to cover 25 percent of the cost, Trump said.

One of the orders advises the Treasury Department to allow employers to pay the employee’s tax deduction by the end of 2020 for Americans earning less than $ 100,000 annually. The holiday is expected to be retroactive until August 1, Trump said, adding that he hopes to forgive the delayed tax breaks and make permanent cuts to tax returns when he is re-elected in November.

“If I win, I can expand and end,” Trump said. “In other words, I’ll extend it to the end of the year and end the tax.”

Two additional orders put a freeze on outbreaks in federal housing and break payments for student loans through the end of the year.

“Through these four actions, my administration will provide vital relief to Americans who are struggling in this difficult time,” Trump said, reading from prepared remarks.

Experts have questioned Trump’s authority to unilaterally intervene in benefits for unemployment and the taxman, and his actions on Saturday could pose legal challenges. But Trump kicked off the legality of the orders when he was asked about him last Friday.

“I mean, everything you do is being persecuted,” he said. “We’ll see that. Yes, we’ll probably be charged, but people feel we can do it.”

Trump has signed orders from a ballroom at his private club, where members were looking for a second straight day. The crowds appeared in New Jersey to break social distancing guidelines, although most spectators wore masks.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump completes executive orders on economics but will not sign yet Overnight health care: Trump will take executive action after colonial virus talks crash | Fax official says he would resign if political pressure on Coronavirus talks collapses if negotiators can no longer reach and Chief of Staff of the White House Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump completes executive orders on economics but will not sign on yet On The Money: Five July takeaways from jobs report Overight Health Care: Trump will take executive action after coronavirus talks collapse | Fax official says he would resign if politics pressed MORE told reporters Friday that they would propose Trump over the weekend with executive action following what was described by both sides as an unproductive meeting with House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Trump completes executive orders on economy but will not sign yet (D-Calif.) And Leader of the Senate Minority Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPostal Service says it has lost .2 billion over a three-month period A stimulus of three trillion dollars, but Charles Schumer for sustainable energy – leading companies want to change that Democrats try to force Trump to produce medical supplies MORE (DN.Y.).

The president had pleaded for days that he was ready to sign the executive orders, and questioned whether it was just a negotiating tactic. But White House officials saw the unilateral action as a way for Trump to take action and distinguish himself from the dysfunction on Capitol Hill.

The White House and the Congress Democrats were unable to reach an agreement on the next incentive package, and both sides have pointed fingers at the other side over the stalemate.

Republicans have balked at the price tag of the Democrats’ proposal – the House of Representatives passed a $ 3.4 trillion measure in May – and opposed the amount demanded for cash-strapped state and local governments. Democrats said they offered to reduce the price of their proposal by $ 1 trillion, but were repatriated by Trump administration negotiators.

Trump, who has made the economy a central focus of his re-election efforts, began signaling last week that he was ready to act unilaterally on economic priorities if talks on virus relief ceased. In a tweet Friday, he accused Pelosi and Schumer of only being interested in “Bailout Money for bad democratic cities and states” and declared that he “would go another way.”

The Trump action followed the release of Labor Department figures showing that the U.S. added 1.8 million jobs in July and saw a decline in the unemployment rate to 10.2 percent. The figures have exceeded expectations, however, economists have stressed the need for more federal assistance to help the dormant economy.

Trump has been pushing for months on a tax cut.

The White House claimed that a tax cut would provide incentives for workers to return to work and reward people who remained at work during the coronavirus pandemic while cutting company costs.

Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress were cool for the idea. Critics of the idea say it would do nothing to help unemployed people, noting that income from payroll taxes goes to the Social Security Fund and Medicare.

Employees and employers each pay Social Security tax of 6.2 percent of salary and Medicare payroll tax of 1.45 percent of salary.

Congress has already taken some steps to provide some relief benefits to employers. Trump signed legislation in March that would allow employers to defer the payment of Social Security taxes and create a tax credit for companies that continue to pay wages and health benefits. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are interested in expanding the credit.

Joe Bishop-Henchman, vice president of tax policy and litigation at the law-supporting National Taxpayers Union Foundation, said in a paper released Friday that “there are many potential legal challenges associated with a unilateral presidential payroll tax. ” And he said that even if it were clear that Trump has the legal authority to lift payroll taxes through executive action, such a move would raise questions for businesses.

“Without detailed answers to some of these questions, employers would only be able to scrape themselves by doing what they always did, blunting the desired economic consequences of tax cuts,” Bishop-Henchman wrote. “A delay or reduction in taxation could be considered as a way to link the taxation to employment, but the path would be infinitely clearer if it was mapped out by Congress in statute instead of in an executive order.”