In response to a question about whether a future stimulus package would make the executive actions null and void, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told NBC's Meet the Press that there would be no need for the president to act if Congress could come to an agreement. "We're disappointed that instead of putting in the work to solve Americans' problems, the President instead chose to stay on his luxury golf course to announce unworkable, weak and narrow policy announcements to slash the unemployment benefits that millions desperately need and endanger seniors' Social Security and Medicare".
According to Trump, the orders would provide an extra 400 US dollars per week in unemployment payments, less than the 600 USA dollars per week passed earlier in the crisis.
The previous unemployment benefit, which expired on August 1, was fully funded by Washington, but Trump is asking states to now cover 25%.
Many states already faced budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic and would have difficulty assuming the new obligation.
Trump, on the other hand, accused Democrats of filling their COVID-19 relief bill with priorities unrelated to the virus.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted Trump's executive orders during Sunday morning interviews, but stopped short of saying whether there will be a legal challenge against the President's move. But the GOP plan released earlier this month by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had a $1 trillion price tag compared to the $3 trillion package advanced by Democrats, and talks last week between administration officials and Democratic leaders showed little evidence that compromise was coming any time soon. Legal scholars seem to think it may be within the president's authority to redirect the disaster relief funds, but unemployment benefits are administered by individual states and it's unclear how they will respond to the legal uncertainty.
Trump's embrace of executive actions to sidestep Congress ran in sharp contrast to his criticism of former President Barack Obama's use of executive orders on a more limited basis. Lindsey Graham of SC and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, praised the president for taking action but said they would prefer a congressional agreement, with Alexander calling on Democrats to "stop blocking commonsense proposals". He added that Trump "does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law".
The other three actions Trump signed Saturday include a memorandum to defer certain payroll tax obligations, a memorandum to defer student loan payments and an executive order to reinstate the federal moratorium on evictions, which also expired at the end of July.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had pushed to extend the enhanced unemployment payments, which expired at the end of July, at the previous rate of $600 as well as to provide more financial support for city and state governments battered by the crisis.
In essence, the deferral is an interest-free loan that would have to be repaid.
Trump said the federal government will cover 75% of the cost.
"Anytime they have a new proposal, I'm willing to listen", Mnuchin told Fox News' Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday". Employers also pay 7.65% of their payrolls into the funds.