- Sputnik International
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

What Do Donald Trump's Four COVID-19 Relief Executive Orders Provide?

© REUTERS / JOSHUA ROBERTSUS President Donald Trump speaks after signing executive orders for economic relief during a news conference amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, 8 August 2020.
US President Donald Trump speaks after signing executive orders for economic relief during a news conference amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, 8 August 2020. - Sputnik International
Earlier in the week, talks on a fourth round of aid to address the public health crisis and economic woes triggered by the coronavirus pandemic stalled as Congressional Democrats pushed for a larger spending package and vowed to file a legal challenge if President Donald Trump acted through executive orders to circumvent Congress.

US President Donald Trump signed four executive orders on Saturday to provide financial relief for Americans amidst the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, after negotiations with Congress hit a stalemate earlier in the week.

The stimulus package offers the following assistance:

Federal Unemployment Aid

Donald Trump's executive action sets weekly unemployment payments at $400, with states to pay for 25 per cent of the sum, while the federal government would pick up 75 per cent.

The supplemental aid, which is on top of existing state unemployment benefits, is set to last until 6 December or until the Disaster Relief Fund balance drops to $25 billion, according to the White House memo.

Previously, unemployed people were receiving a $600-a-week boost, in line with a federal programme that expired at the end of July.

To cover the expense, up to $44 billion would be diverted from The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund.

Measures to Discourage Eviction

The new executive orders offer directives to protect Americans from eviction.

In March, Congress passed The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that issued a 120-day temporary eviction moratorium. The measures apply to renters in federal housing assistance programmes, as well as people living in properties which were paid for with a federally-backed mortgage.

However, that moratorium expired in July, with the newly signed action seeking to encourage federal efforts to help financially-struggling renters and homeowners who were unable to make monthly payments avoid eviction or foreclosure.

Available funds are to be determined to "provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners who, as a result of the financial hardships caused by COVID-19, are struggling to meet their monthly rental or mortgage obligations".

Payroll Tax Holiday

A payroll tax holiday is provided in line with the executive orders signed by the US President for employees making $100,000 or less per year.

The payroll tax is deferred from 1 September to 31 December, 2020, with employees obliged to repay the federal government after the tax holiday ends.

Deducted from workers' paychecks, the tax funds Social Security and Medicare.

Student Loan Relief

Federal student loan payments are to be suspended, with interest rates set at 0 percent through 31 December 2020. The measure comes as currently active student loan relief programmes were to expire on 30 September.

As he slammed the Congressional Democrats for previously “stonewalling” talks on a coronavirus relief package, Donald Trump vowed that his administration sought to provide "immediate and vital relief to Americans struggling at this difficult time".

​In response. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a joint statement deploring the president for bypassing Congress with the executive orders.

They also dubbed the announced measures as "unworkable, weak and narrow", insisting that Trump "still does not comprehend the seriousness or the urgency of the health and economic crises facing working families".

Earlier in the week Democratic and White House negotiators struggled to reach a spending agreement.

The Democratic negotiators, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had been in talks with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but failed to reach a compromise.

The White House had warned a deal was needed by the end of the week, with Donald Trump warning he was prepared to take matters into his own hands and sign a series of executive orders intended to offer stimulus using, in his words, “significant money that was unspent”.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала