The orders Trump signed would provide an extra $400 in unemployment benefits, suspend some student loan payments and protect renters from eviction.
Speaking from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump said his executive actions would provide an additional $400-per-week in unemployment benefits, suspend payments on some student loans through the end of the year and protect renters from being evicted from their homes.
One of his executive measures is to defer certain payroll taxes through the end of the year, a move he said if re-elected could become permanent.
The president had been threatening for days to provide relief through an executive order if negotiations failed to produce a deal.
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“We’ve had it,” Trump said Saturday. “We’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American worker.”
Here’s what Trump signed Saturday and what it can mean for you:
Pandemic unemployment benefits
Trump said his actions would provide an additional $400-per-week in unemployment benefits yet states would have to cover 25% of the cost.
Democrats wanted to extend the full $600 benefit, which ended the week of July 31, but Republicans balked, arguing that was a disincentive for some Americans to return to work because they would receive more in unemployment than they earned on the job.
“It’s $400 a week, and we’re doing it without the Democrats,” Trump said, saying at one point the money would be “rapidly distributed.”
It was not immediately clear where the federal portion would come from – though the president suggested he was looking to use unspent funds from previous coronavirus relief bills – and Trump said it would be up to states to determine how much, if any of it to fund.
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Student loan payments suspended
Congress had suspended payments on some student loans due to the virus but the provision was set to expire Sept. 30. Trump’s new measures will extend the deferments through the end of the year and he said it could be further extended.
Eviction protection for renters
The federal moratorium on evictions expired July 24 and Trump’s new action instructs the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to enable renters and homeowners to stay in their homes.
Tenants of more than 12 million rental units have been at risk since the moratorium expired.
Cut payroll taxes
Trump said the employee portion of the payroll tax would be deferred from Aug. 1 through the end of the year. The move would not directly aid unemployed workers, who do not pay the tax when they are jobless, and employees will need to repay the federal government eventually without an act of Congress, where there is bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill.
“If I win, I may extend and terminate,” Trump said, repeating a longtime goal but remaining silent on how he’d fund the Medicare and Social Security benefits that the 7% tax on employee income covers. Employers also pay 7.65% of their payrolls into the funds.
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What about stimulus checks?
Trump did not issue an executive action for another round of stimulus checks Saturday.
In late July, Senate Republicans released a roughly $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill proposal called the Health Care Economic Assistance Liability Protection and Schools or HEALS Act. It has not approved or agreed upon yet.
Contributing: David Jackson and Michael Collins, USA TODAY; Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
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