President Donald Trump on Saturday signed executive orders intended to provide economic relief to Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic after the White House failed to reach a deal with Congress.
[TRUMP] "...The third action I'm taking today will also provide additional support for Americans who are unemployed due to the China virus under the CARE's act I proudly signed expanded unemployment benefits into law. // I’m taking action to provide an additional or an extra $400 per week in expanded benefits. $400, ok?"
That’s less than the now expired $600-per-week unemployment payments that has served as a lifeline to the tens of millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Along with the extra jobless benefit, Trump signed executive orders to stop evictions from rental housing backed by federal financing, extended zero percent interest rates on student loans until the end of the year, and cut payroll taxes.
Some of the measures were likely to face legal challenges, as the U.S. Constitution gives Congress authority over federal spending.
Nearly two weeks of talks between White House officials and congressional Democrats ended on Friday with the two sides still far apart.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday offered to reduce a proposed $3.4 trillion coronavirus aid package, which the House passed in May but White House negotiators Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows rejected the offer.
Trump initially stayed out of the negotiations and played down the virus's threat.
COVID-19 has taken a large human and economic toll on the United States, where it has killed more than 160,000 Americans.