Thu, 24 Sep 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he is ready to take executive action after congressional lawmakers failed again to reach agreement on a relief package for the tens of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump told a news conference that executive orders are being prepared to enhance unemployment benefits until the end of the year, defer student loan payments and forgive interest on the loans, and extend a moratorium on evictions. He said an executive order is also being prepared to defer payroll taxes until the end of the year.

It was not immediately clear if he has the legal authority to take the executive actions he has proposed. It was also not immediately clear how the actions, if implemented, would work. For example, if payroll taxes are deferred, it is not clear whether workers would then have to pay them retroactively at some point and whether that payment would be one large payment or stretched out over time.

Republican lawmakers are not interested in an economic relief package that costs more than $1 trillion. The bottom line for the Democrats is $2 trillion. There seems to be no room for negotiating away from those numbers for the politicians. Reports say the lawmakers have not scheduled any additional meetings.

Millions of Americans recently saw the $600 enhancement to their weekly unemployment benefits come to an end. Social service agencies have warned that the lack of the additional funds for the unemployed could result in food insecurity and evictions for millions.

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