President Donald Trump signed multiple executive actions one day after coronavirus relief negotiations fell apart in Congress.
Trump on Saturday signed a memorandum that is supposed to provide $400 a week for additional unemployment insurance benefits — down from the $600 benefit that expired July 31. An executive order would extend a moratorium on evictions in addition to memoranda that would provide deferments for student loan payments and create a payroll tax holiday for those making less than $100,000 annually.
“Through these four actions, my administration will provide immediate and vital relief to Americans struggling in this difficult time,” the president said from the signing at a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Saturday afternoon.
It remains unclear what legal authority Trump has to enforce the actions.
Trump called the $400 unemployment benefit — which Democrats had insisted remain at $600 — “generous.” When asked about the decrease being a “hardship” for many he pushed back.
“Well, no, this is not a hardship, this is the money that they need,” he said. “This is the money they want. And this gives them a great incentive to go back to work so this is much more than what was originally agreed. The 600 was a number that was there and as you know, there was, there was difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive.”