Even though there have been weeks worth of negotiations, Congress has still not been able to come to an agreement on the next stimulus package. Their failing deliberations have caused many Americans to wonder about what possible aid they could receive from the government amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As CNBC noted, there is still a chance that Americans could receive some sort of financial relief despite Congress' lack of progress regarding the second stimulus package.
While Congress has been at an impasse on stimulus-related negotiations, President Donald Trump took action in early August to extend economic relief programs. So, Americans could potentially still receive some benefits even if Congress is unable to agree. The president signed an executive order and an array of memos that called for student loan forbearance, an eviction moratorium, a payroll tax holiday, and an extension to unemployment benefits. Although, CNBC noted that there are already problems associated with Trump's memos. In terms of his extension of unemployment benefits, the president called for eligible Americans to receive an additional $400 weekly. The catch is that the states are required to hand over $100 of that total to individuals. If they do not receive that funding from the states, jobless Americans can't receive the remaining $300 from the federal government. As a result, this initiative might not even be able to get off the ground in many states across the country.
Regarding his supposed eviction moratorium, experts have said that the president's memo does not actually call for that explicitly. Instead, his memo only directs federal agencies to "consider" measures to prevent evictions, as Peggy Bailey, the vice president of housing policy at the Center on Budget Policies and Priorities, said. "The executive order on eviction does not in any way create a moratorium on eviction, nor does it direct federal agencies to issue a moratorium," Emily Benfer, an eviction expert and visiting professor of law at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, also said about the topic. "Any statement otherwise is false and should not be relied upon."
Trump's payroll tax holiday also has its own set of issues. Under his memo, which called for a temporary cut to payroll taxes, employers can actually decide whether to give their employees larger paychecks or whether to simply withhold the levies until they are due to the government. The president also called for student loan forbearance, which CNBC noted has the strongest chance of providing Americans with more funds. While experts have said that Trump does not have the authority to issue a student loan forbearance, during which time interest will not accrue, they also said that he would likely not be challenged on this front. Aside from what the president called for in his executive order, eligible Americans can also count on their $1,200 payment from the CARES Act for additional financial support, if they have not already received theirs.