A local Congressman has weighed in on 4 executive orders signed by President Donald Trump last week. President Trump signed the orders in New Jersey after another round of COVID-19 stimulus talks stalled in Congress.
The executive orders were as follows: An extension of the federal unemployment supplement at a reduced rate of $400 per week down from $600; A payroll tax holiday through the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000; Extended student loan relief through the end of the year; and a call for federal agency leaders to try to find funds to help curb evictions across the country.
Legal challenges are expected as experts question Trump’s authority to issue executive powers in regards to federal fiduciary matters. The executive actions did not include another round of direct stimulus payments.
18th District Congressman Darin LaHood called President Trump’s actions a rite of last resort due to the partisan dysfunction on Capitol Hill: “I’m glad the president issued the executive orders. I think it’s a reflection of the inability of the Democrats in Congress to come to an agreement. Remember, we reached [consensus] on 4 bills that we passed in the Spring in response to COVID-19 to really deal with dual crises – the healthcare crisis and the economic crisis. I think we did a good job. I supported all 4 of those bills. Now, I think the Democrats are playing a lot of games. They want to spend another $4 trillion. The president wants to spend about $1 trillion. I think that makes sense. Remember, we are putting all of this on the federal credit card. We are going into debt. This is money that we don’t have in a rainy day fund. We always have to be concerned about the fiscal state of the country, and we’re up to $26 trillion in debt in this country.”
LaHood hopes the orders push Congressional Democrats to come to the table and agree on further legislation for COVID-19 stimulus and recovery: “The bottom line is that we’re not going to spend our way out of this pandemic. So, let’s come together and figure out a reasonable way to do this. The Democrats don’t want to do that so the president had to take these executive actions on unemployment, eviction notices – these are all things that are going to help the American people. I’m glad he did it. I support him on that. Hopefully, that causes the Democrats to want to come to the table and bring some relief to the American people.”
LaHood says that the federal unemployment supplement was disincentivizing people to work at $600 a week. He also says the tax holiday allows for people to keep more of their check for a short time to help with economic recovery. He says that Congress will allow the federal payroll tax holiday to last possibly until the end of the year and then restart it.
LaHood also feels that the student loan debt and eviction relief acts will also give relief immediately, despite push back from others on the opposite side of the aisle. Critics say that the order failed to address key issues like state & local funding, funding to safely re-open schools, testing and contact tracing efforts, and funding for the United States Postal Service to carry out mail-in ballots for the General Election in November.