Trump Orders Extended Jobless Benefits, Payroll Tax Deferral

President Donald Trump announced four executive actions on Saturday, including continued expanded unemployment benefits and a temporary payroll tax deferral for some workers, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hobble the U.S. economy.

Trump also ordered continued eviction protection and student-loan relief.

The president said another order would provide $400 a week in jobless benefits — down from $600 weekly that had been provided through last week, authorized by a Congressional stimulus bill in March — and that states would be responsible for covering 25% of the cost.

The administration is directing states to use part of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, while the federal government will tap on $44 billion of the existing $70 billion Disaster Relief Fund, said Andrew Husby, an economist for Bloomberg Economics.

“Because the Trump plan taps a limited pool of existing funds to extend unemployment benefits at $400 per week, there is a high risk they run short ahead of the election,” Husby said.

To act on his own, the president is relying on an expansive and controversial reading of executive power that likely will face legal challenges. Trump’s advisers say executive action could pressure Democrats to reduce their demands and allow him to argue to voters that he’s looking out for their well-being amid congressional inaction.

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