President Trump signed an executive order and three memoranda on Saturday that will extend unemployment benefits and give additional aid to citizens during the pandemic. The move bypasses Congress and will likely face legal challenges. Congress is deadlocked in negotiations for another stimulus package. The Democrats have the Heroes Act, which they cut down to $2 trillion after Republicans scoffed at the original $3 trillion price tag. Republicans, on the other hand, have the Heals Act, which has a budget of $1 trillion. The main differences between the acts fall on who gets money (Democrats are pushing for everyone that pays taxes to get a stimulus check, among other demands) and how much they would recieve (Republicans want to cut weekly unemployment boosts by $400).
Trump’s executive order will contribute an additional $400 to unemployment checks, down from the $600 boost that expired on July 31. Trump’s move also aims to defer payroll taxes for those earning less than $100,000 a year.
Trump’s move directs the treasury secretary to defer payroll taxes for workers “most in need.” This deferment will run from September 1 through December 31, but the money will be owed back to the government. Payroll Taxes include Social Security and Medicare, which are both programs Trump has wanted to slash in the past. Also included in the executive order and memoranda are provisions to halt certain student loan payments, specific evictions and foreclosures, and to explore ways to cancel various forms of debt.
Laws that affect taxes are typically written and implemented by Congress, which has many politicians claiming that Trump’s move is unconstitutional. However, it would be foolish for the Democrats to challenge Trump’s executive order, because that will directly impact millions of Americans negatively.