The U.S President, Donald Trump, bypassing the Congress, has signed an executive order and three memoranda to provide economic relief to the pandemic-hit Americans.
While disclosing this on Saturday August 8, 2020, Trump said the order would give additional benefit to the unemployed and implement tax cuts for workers.
The executive order, which faces legal challenge, would provide, as a top up to the $600 benefit which had expired on July 31, additional $400 unemployment benefits for those laid off work.
It also aims to have payroll taxes of those earning less than $100,000 yearly deferred.
Mr. Trump in a memorandum has directed the treasury secretary to effect the deferment of payroll taxes for workers who are most in need starting from September1 trough December 31.
However, workers would still have to pay back the payroll tax unless the government decides otherwise.
The President has though tasked the secretary to look into ways the debt could possibly be canceled.
The additional unemployment benefit would take about 25% of the cost from states coffer, but it was not immediately stated if state governors have been duly informed about this.
Speaking about the possibility of governors agreeing to the plan, Mr. Trump said, “If they don’t, they don’t. It’s up to them,”
While expressing doubt that his order could face legal challenge, in court from Congress, Mr. Trump promised to forego the tax and initiate permanent cut to the payrolls tax if he won the November, 3 election.
Similarly, the executive order would extend a memorandum on student loan payments and and halt some evictions and foreclosures.
Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans differed over what amount should constitute the relief fund with Democrats proposing $3.4 trillion, while the Republicans have settled for $1 trillion.
However, House speaker, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, had offered to cut $1 trillion of the bill, if the Republicans added $1 trillion, an offer which shesaid was outright rejected.
President has severely criticized Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for failing to come to term with the White House officials.
He however expressed hope that something could be done about the two leaders.
The president claimed that the Democrats were trying to steal election as they introduced election assistance provisions in their bill.
Democrats are of the view that it would be necessary to strengthen the election system during the pandemic, knowing full well that many voters would prefer casting their votes by mail.
Several criticisms have trailed Mr. Trump’s order for bypassing the Congress and the possibly consequences of such order.
House Ways, the Democratic chairman of the tax-writing , and Means Committee, Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts criticized the move saying that it “brazenly circumventing Congress to institute tax policy that destabilizes Social Security.”
Richard Neal further cited the consequence of the order on Meidcare Funding when he said, “This decree is a poorly disguised first step in an effort to fully dismantle these vital programs by executive fiat.”
Similarly, Oregon’s Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator, criticized Trump’s plan to defer the payroll tax.
“This fake tax cut would also be a big shock to workers who thought they were getting a tax cut when it was only a delay,” said Wyden.
“These workers would be hit with much bigger payments down the road,” Wyden added.