USA

Trump threatens executive order on COVID-19 stimulus if Dems can’t reach agreement

President Trump said Thursday he plans to sign sweeping executive orders “tomorrow afternoon” if Democrats won’t agree to a new coronavirus stimulus bill.

Trump says he’s ready to revive a moratorium on evictions and a federal supplement for unemployment insurance, both of which lapsed last month. He also floated a temporary payroll tax cut and action on student loans.

“I’ve notified my staff to continue working on an Executive Order with respect to Payroll Tax Cut, Eviction Protections, Unemployment Extensions, and Student Loan Repayment Options,” Trump tweeted.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows previously gave Democrats a Friday afternoon deadline to make concessions.

On Capitol Hill, talks ground to a halt between White House reps and Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer held a press conference Thursday and refused to budge on a renewed $600/week federal supplement in unemployment. Republicans want to peg the boost to 70 percent of pre-pandemic pay.

It’s unclear what unemployment supplement rate Trump would order.

The executive orders would stoke intense debate among scholars and attorneys. Congress typically holds the power to spend money.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters he thought Trump was bluffing. “I doubt if he’s serious,” the senior Republican said.

An estimated 23 million people could face eviction by October if the federal moratorium is not extended, and more than 30 million people are receiving unemployment benefits from states.

The impasse, meanwhile, has at least shortened the traditional August recess enjoyed by lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday he was postponing the annual vacation period, which he said was caused by an “absurd far left wish list” from Democrats.

Republicans object to a Democratic request for almost $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments. Democrats largely oppose a GOP liability protection proposal for businesses.

Both sides agree they want to send another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

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