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Trump orders $400-per-week unemployment payments amid COVID crisis

  • Trump orders $400-per-week unemployment payments amid COVID crisis, hits Dems for stonewalling
    Trump orders $400-per-week unemployment payments amid COVID crisis, hits Dems for stonewalling
Region:
United States
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Politics
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By Fox News
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Trump announced a $400-per-week supplemental unemployment payment to out-of-work Americans -- short of the $600 weekly benefit that expired at the end of July. He unveiled an extension of student loan relief and protections from evictions for renters and homeowners.

President Trump signed four executive actions Saturday aimed at delivering relief to Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus while accusing Democrats of stonewalling greater aid efforts.

Trump announced a $400-per-week supplemental unemployment payment to out-of-work Americans -- short of the $600 weekly benefit that expired at the end of July. He unveiled an extension of student loan relief and protections from evictions for renters and homeowners.

Trump also signed a payroll tax holiday through the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000, while promising more relief if he wins a second term.

The president signed the executive actions from his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., as club members cheered him on. He blamed Democrats for the coronavirus stalemate in Congress and said he'd take matters into his own hands.

"Democrats are obstructing all of it," Trump said. "Therefore, I'm taking executive action ... and we're going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers."

For the new $400-per-week benefit, states would be on the hook for funding 25 percent for the millions of jobless Americans, while the federal government would pick up 75 percent of the benefit, Trump said. Asked when the jobless would see the money, Trump said it would be “rapidly distributed.”

The $400 boost is more than what many congressional Republicans wanted. Some opposed any extension of the federal aid, while others backed a boost no greater than $200 per week. Meanwhile, Democrats had been fighting for the full $600-per-week extension, which is on top of state unemployment benefits.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., dismissed Trump's “meager” actions and slammed the president for signing them from his Bedminster club.

“Today’s meager announcements by the president show President Trump still does not comprehend the seriousness or the urgency of the health and economic crises facing working families," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Saturday. "We’re disappointed that instead of putting in the work to solve Americans’ problems, the President instead chose to stay on his luxury golf course to announce unworkable, weak and narrow policy announcements to slash the unemployment benefits that millions desperately need and endanger seniors’ Social Security and Medicare."

Trump has long wanted a holiday on payroll taxes, which help fund Social Security and Medicare. But congressional Republicans have not fought for the provision because of how much the suspension on tax collection could drive up an already staggering debt.

Acting unilaterally could prompt legal challenges. Since Congress controls new federal spending, Trump already predicted sidestepping lawmakers could have lawsuit consequences. But he dared opponents to deprive Americans of relief.

"If we get sued, it's [from] somebody that doesn't want people to get money," Trump said. "And that's not going to be a very popular thing."