Congress has been trying to hammer out details of the next stimulus package over the past several weeks without success. As a result, in early August, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to extend various economic relief programs. But, how does his coronavirus relief plan stand amidst the ongoing debate surrounding the next stimulus package?
Trump's executive order called for an eviction moratorium, student loan forbearance, a payroll tax holiday, and an extension of unemployment benefits. Under his memo, the federal government would contribute $300 per week in extra unemployment benefits with states responsible for $100. While states have already raised concerns over this initiative, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Aug. 10 that individuals could expect to receive these benefits "within the next week or two," per CNET. As for the eviction moratorium that the president called for, it won't actually halt evictions outright. Instead, his order leaves the decision to ban evictions in the hands of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. So, it's unclear when and if evictions will be halted in light of the president's executive order.
The president also called for a student loan deferral that would waive student loan interest until Dec. 31. This order would extend the current relief that was set up by the CARES Act. The catch for this initiative is that Trump's memo applies to loans "held by the Department of Education" and would not account for privately held loans. The final issue that Trump addressed, the payroll tax holiday, is, perhaps, the most controversial. His memorandum concerning payroll taxes would cover a four-month period from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 and would affect individuals who receive less than $100,000 per year.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have already criticized the president for implementing such a move, as the president can't forgive taxes without congressional approval. In other words, Trump could potentially be sued for calling for a payroll tax holiday, something which he does not appear to be concerned about. On Aug. 7, the president said, when asked what he thought about potentially getting into legal trouble for this action, "Well, you always get sued. Everything you do, you get sued." While Trump did sign these memos in early August, he did not share any details about when they would actually go into effect, if they do so at all.