Another deadline has come and gone without Congress coming to an agreement about a second stimulus plan. Amidst discussions about this plan, President Donald Trump said on Friday that he has plans to sign an executive order to extend coronavirus relief programs. During his announcement, he even shared plans to extend unemployment benefits through the end of the year. This news comes as Democrats and Republicans have been trying to hammer out details of their next stimulus package, with one of the most significant points of contention between the two groups tying back to these unemployment benefits.
Trump held a press conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club on Friday evening to announce his executive order plans. He said that if Congress is not able to agree on the next stimulus package that he will then take executive action. The president said that he has plans to extend programs related to unemployment benefits, extend an eviction moratorium, and defer student loan payments and forgive their interest. Additionally, he shared that he would implement a payroll tax deferment, which has already been met with criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. While Trump did share these plans, he did not offer up any concrete details regarding them. He said during the press conference, "If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage, I will act under my authority as President to get Americans the relief they need."
Trump said that these executive orders could be signed by the end of the week. The president noted that "they're talking about" a payroll tax deferment until the end of the year. “And I can extend it at a certain period … and it will be retroactive until July 1,” he said. “I’m going to enhance unemployment benefits through the end of the year." Although the president did not specify the amount for these unemployment benefits. His comments come as lawmakers have been trying to hammer out details of this next stimulus package. As previously mentioned, the unemployment benefits have been a hot topic of discussion during these deliberations.
Under the CARES Act, eligible Americans received an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits. But, those expired on July 31. While Senate Republicans did account for these bonuses in their plan, the HEALS Act, their figure does not come close to what was given out under the CARES Act. As a result, there has been a bit of an impasse concerning the topic of enacting another stimulus package.