President Donald Trump tried to bypass Congress Saturday with a slew of executive actions on economic relief that he acknowledged will likely face legal challenges. As Congress deadlocks over the shape of an upcoming coronavirus stimulus bill, the commander-in-chief said at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey that he would step in with orders to add $400 per week to federal unemployment benefits, continue a moratorium on evictions, defer student loan payments, and cancel the federal payroll tax on Americans making less than $100,000 for the remainder of the year. A benefit of an extra $600 per week for unemployment expired at the close of July. The four documents signed by the president included three memoranda and one executive action.
The Constitution broadly allots budgetary powers on new federal government spending to Congress rather than the White House, which will likely undermine Trump’s orders. When asked about the legality of his actions, he said, “If we get sued, it's somebody that doesn't want people to get money.” He continued, “That’s not going to be a popular thing to do.” He also attacked congressional Democrats for not coming to an agreement on a relief bill, though blame for the holdup falls also on his own party, which holds control of the Senate. Republicans have told The Daily Beast that the commander-in-chief often makes negotiations worse when he steps in.