Seizing the power of his podium and his pen, President Donald Trump today moved to bypass the nation’s elected lawmakers as he claimed the authority to defer payroll taxes and extend an expired unemployment benefit after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed.
At his private country club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump signed four executive orders to act where Congress hasn’t, contending Washington’s gridlock had compelled him to act as the pandemic undermined the country’s economy and imperiled his November reelection hopes.
Perhaps most crucially, Trump moved to continue paying a supplemental federal unemployment benefit for millions of Americans out of work during the outbreak. However, his order called for up to $400 payments, one-third less than the $600 people had been receiving. Congress allowed those higher payments to lapse on Aug. 1, and negotiations to extend them have been mired in partisan gridlock, with the White House and Democrats miles apart