Donald Trump signed a set of executive orders Saturday in response to the breakdown of Congressional negotiations on a second stimulus package Friday. The signing came after a long rambling introduction that acted as more of a campaign speech, cheered on by paying members of his Bedminster Country Club in New Jersey. Trump attacked Joe Biden, China, Democratic leadership, and anybody who has been standing in his way.
Apart from signing the executive orders, Trump did little to confirm when people can expect the orders to go into effect, but he did share a lot of bluster about what he felt he was doing and how his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, were "obstructing" getting relief to people.
Trump signs the executive orders and then gives away pens to his paying customers pic.twitter.com/EotZWalQ01— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 8, 2020
Trump incorrectly referred to his executive orders as "bills," which are only passed by an act of Congress. He also called his payroll tax cut a "tax holiday" that he may extend into 2021, especially if he's re-elected. Both parties opposed a payroll tax cut, noting it would do nothing to help those unemployed and put Medicare and Social Security at risk.
The payroll cut was the fourth in the group of executive orders. The central executive order focused on the unemployment bonus that expired at the end of July. But instead of $600, which CNN notes may have been a technical necessity with the first stimulus, Trump decided on $400. He called the lower amount an incentive to go back to work, continuing to spread the talking points of GOP members of Congress.
His final points focused on relief for student loan borrowers and protection against evictions, claiming the media hasn't covered evictions despite evidence to the contrary.
Scroll down to take a more in-depth look at the executive orders, and some of the reactions people are sharing.
Several additional caveats join the extra $400 benefit covered in the first executive order for the state's responses and allocation of funds. What is sort of hidden within, though, is the federal government will pay 75% or $300 of the unemployment benefit, while the rest is to be covered by the states.
"In exercising this authority, the Secretary, acting through the FEMA Administrator, shall, subject to the limitations above, approve a lost wages assistance program that authorizes the Governor to provide a $400 payment per week, which shall reflect a $300 Federal contribution, to eligible claimants from the week of unemployment ending August 1, 2020," the order reads.
I always ask for less. Makes complete non-sense.— Fred Wayne Baltz (@TheSashaFarce) August 8, 2020
The order concerning the payroll tax includes some jabs at China and their role in the coronavirus spread, using it to make an emergency declaration in response. Once that is out of the way, the order states the payroll holiday will begin September 1, 2020, and stay through December 31, 2020.
"The deferral shall be made available with respect to any employee the amount of whose wages or compensation, as applicable, payable during any bi-weekly pay period generally is less than $4,000, calculated on a pre-tax basis, or the equivalent amount with respect to other pay periods."prevnext
The expiration of the moratorium on evictions hit many people hard and Trump's third order claims to take care of that. It claims to extend the temporary halt, relieve financial burdens on renters and homeowners.
"With the failure of the Congress to act, my Administration must do all that it can to help vulnerable populations stay in their homes in the midst of this pandemic. Those who are dislocated from their homes may be unable to shelter in place and may have more difficulty maintaining a routine of social distancing. They will have to find alternative living arrangements, which may include a homeless shelter or a crowded family home and may also require traveling to other States.
"In addition, evictions tend to disproportionately affect minorities, particularly African Americans and Latinos. Unlike the Congress, I cannot sit idly and refuse to assist vulnerable Americans in need. Under my Administration, minorities achieved the lowest unemployment rates on record, and we will not let COVID-19 erase these gains by causing short-term dislocations that could well have long-term consequences," the order reads.prevnext
Trump is also extending the waiver for student loan interest for federal borrowers. The executive order claims to cover the loans through the end of the year and will still allow those who want to make payments free to do so.
"In light of the national emergency declared on March 13, 2020, the Secretary of Education shall take action pursuant to applicable law to effectuate appropriate waivers of and modifications to the requirements and conditions of economic hardship deferments described in section 455(f)(2)(D) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1087e(f)(2)(D), and provide such deferments to borrowers as necessary to continue the temporary cessation of payments and the waiver of all interest on student loans held by the Department of Education until December 31, 2020," the order states.prevnext
Throughout his press conference, Trump blatantly shared many falsehoods in between propping up the job he has done as president. This did not include any mention of the coronavirus death toll, the rising numbers across the United States, any plan for those returning to work or returning to schools and his decision to not mandate masks despite evidence and urging from experts.
That is not a thing. The President can’t magic up money and transfer authority only gets you so far.
It is literally a federal crime under the Antideficiency Act for a government official to make or authorize the spending of money that has not been appropriated by Congress. https://t.co/eyLMRkeuCi— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) August 8, 2020
He blamed China for spreading the virus, even seemingly insinuating that it was spread intentionally. This was echoed in the official language in the executive orders as well.
Trump falsely characterizes his executive orders as "bills." Bills are passed by Congress. pic.twitter.com/HJNAEAUiUy— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 8, 2020
Trump just took credit for Veterans Choice legislation.
The Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2014.
He’s so bad at everything he’s not even good at lying. pic.twitter.com/ZjuuCoNKLc— VoteVets (@votevets) August 8, 2020
Trump gets frustrated when @PaulaReidCBS won't stop trying to ask him a question about why he keeps lying about Veterans Choice, then abruptly ends the news conference as "YMCA" plays pic.twitter.com/Z3uVxebKGH— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 8, 2020
Trump and Senate Republicans blocked an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits.
Now Trump is trying to put a bandaid on the economic crisis with unconstitutional, illegal, logistically unworkable executive orders that contain bad policy.
This isn’t a solution, it is a con.— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) August 8, 2020
Will Trump sycophants in Senate stand for this usurping of their power under Constitution? Are they going to allow destruction of checks & balances in this great nation? Are they ready to accept this new executive power from future Presidents? Speak up. I cant hear you.— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) August 8, 2020
Trump is ridiculous, offering Americans on the verge of homelessness less than what they need to survive—all from his country club.— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (@RevDrBarber) August 8, 2020
Trump’s new approach to press conferences is incredibly disturbing. Having a crowd jeer the press at his golf club is beyond absurd and the Press Pool should withdraw from these events and media should not cover them. #TrumpMeltdown— Tony (@TonyAtamanuik) August 8, 2020
The ship is sinking and Trump came with duct tape. Rather than do their jobs and help pass a comprehensive bill to help millions who are hurting, the White House and Senate Republicans are giving up and moving on.
These are totally insufficient. Congress. Must. Act. https://t.co/VOm65Sjcfs— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) August 8, 2020