Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle claim to be seeking a coronavirus relief package that would meet the needs of Americans suffering under a continuing public health crisis.
As negotiations remain stalled on Capitol Hill, however, President Donald Trump announced that he would be taking matters into his own hands — starting with the suspension of payroll taxes throughout the end of 2020, as reported by Breitbart.
Democrats have faced criticism from the White House and GOP legislators over the perception that they are attempting to use the pandemic as an opportunity to fund a host of unrelated progressive pet projects.
Republicans have countered with a roughly $1 trillion plan requiring significantly less federal funding while addressing many of the major economic concerns presented by the coronavirus shutdowns.
When Democrats said they would be willing to shave $1 trillion off of their roughly $3 trillion plan if the GOP would meet them in the middle, Republicans reportedly walked away from the negotiating table.
The apparent inability to find common ground prompted Trump’s recent comments regarding an intended executive action on the matter.
Trump noted that the action would defer federal payroll taxes until the end of the year, retroactively applying to taxes paid as far back as July 1.
He further expressed interest in extending unemployment benefits, which included an extra $600 per week until the provision expired at the end of last month. In his remarks earlier this week, Trump gave Congress until Friday to come up with a deal before he stepped in with an executive order.
“If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage, I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need,” he said.
The president’s potential bypass of Congress is expected to draw legal challenges on constitutional grounds, however, and he acknowledged the likelihood of such an outcome. Trump provided further details about his intention during a press conference in New Jersey on Saturday.
“No, not at all,” he said when asked if he was worried about such the legal ramifications. “You always get sued, everything you do you get sued. … We’ll see.”
While it is sure to face significant scrutiny, Trump’s latest executive action might just take away some of the leverage Democrats feel they have in negotiating another round of vital relief for millions of Americans.