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Trump Takes Big Steps to Bypass Deadlocked Congress, Offering Relief to Struggling Americans

08-08-2020
President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump bypasses Congress and signs executive orders to address the ongoing economic crisis affecting America due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The President offered several new executive orders that include many of the features of the first CARES Act plus payroll tax relief and assistance to renters and homeowners.

Trump's plan would give people making less than $100,000 a year a payroll tax cut and freeze evictions.

It would also extend extra unemployment aid to 10.2% of Americans who are out of work.
 
Trump said that if he is re-elected in November, he would look at the possibility of making the payroll tax relief permanent. 

Opponents of the payroll tax cut say those taxes are needed to fund things like Social Security and Medicare.
 
Extra aid for the unemployed will total $400 a week, a cut from the $600 that just expired in July.

The president says he's also freezing student loan payments.

Negotiations led by Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin fell apart recently with Congress taking a break without passing a bill – Democrats and Republicans weren't able to agree on the amounts and types of aid.

President Trump says he acted because of the Washington grid-lock. 

"If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need," Trump said.

One issue stalling the negotiation was the amount to spend on it. Democrats wanted to expend $3.4 trillion and Republicans wanted $1 trillion. 

The president's move comes after Friday's jobs report, although better than expected, was smaller than the past two months.

Experts believe that happened due to a resurgence of the Coronavirus which led several states to slow down re-opening businesses and jobs.

The election is also a big concern for the Trump administration. His aides believe the economy needs a boost to show growth in order for him to win in November. 
 
The executive orders are smaller than congressional legislation and Meadows admits it's not the perfect answer, but it is a start.

"But it is all that we can do and all the president can do within the confines of his executive power, and we’re going to encourage him to do it," Meadows said.

Trump has not specified how the payroll tax deferral would work, and it was unclear whether he had the authority to take such an action without approval from Congress. 

Other areas were also hurt by members of Congress leaving Washington without a deal – that includes school districts in need of federal funds along with the Postal service and funding for November elections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) continue to insist on a huge aid package while half of the Senate Republicans don't want another aid package at all. Pelosi says the talks are dead for now.  

Four prior coronavirus response bills totaling almost $3 trillion have won approval on bipartisan votes.

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