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President Donald Trump announced Friday evening plans to sign an executive order to extend enhanced unemployments benefits—which expired the week of July 25—through the end of the year. Trump said he could sign it by the end of the week.
The president also said he’ll sign orders to extend the deferment for student loans and forgive student loan interest, extend eviction moratoriums, and defer some payroll taxes until the end of year.
This announcement came after negotiations on a broad stimulus bill between Democratic and Republican leaders broke down on Friday. That bill would have included a second round of stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, and a number of other measures to help Americans cope with the pandemic.
The enhanced unemployment benefits passed in the CARES Act, which ran out in late July, paid $600 per week onto of state unemployment benefits. Trump declined to say how much the benefit would payout weekly through his executive order.
It is likely that Trump’s executive order will face legal challenges. Democratic leaders this week said that Congress, not the President, has the constitutional power to control the purse strings of the federal government.
“Probably we’ll get sued,” Trump told reporters Friday when he announced the executive order.
It’s also unclear if this executive order would kill talks for another stimulus package, and thus a second round of stimulus checks. On Friday Democratic leaders offered to bring down their dollar ask on the broad stimulus package if Republicans similarly increased their offer.
“We reiterated in very strong terms our offer: We come down $1 trillion from our top number, which was $3.4 trillion, and they go up $1 trillion from their top number, which was $1 trillion. And that way we could begin to meet in the middle,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Friday.
White House officials balked at that Friday offer made by Democrats, citing their unease with sending more than a $1 trillion to state and local governments. Trump relayed that sentiment when he announced the executive order on Friday.
“They want to make up for many many years of bad [state] management,” Trump told reporters Friday when explaining why he won’t agree to the amount Democrats want for state and local governments.
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