President Donald Trump on Saturday signed executive actions, one of which would provide $400 a week in federal enhanced unemployment benefits after Democrats and the White House were unable to reach an agreement on a Coronavirus stimulus relief bill this week.
“I'm taking action to provide an additional or extra $400 a week and expanded benefits, $400. That's generous but we want to take care of our people,” Trump said at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Trump signed one executive order and three memoranda, one of which will enact a payroll tax deferment for Americans earning less than $100,000 a year. He also proposed to extend an eviction moratorium and defer student loan payments and forgive their interest.
Trump said the federal government will pay $300, leaving it up to the states to pay the remaining $100. He did not outline where the federal funds would be coming from.
When asked by a reporter why $400 instead of the previous $600, Trump responded: “This is the money they need, this is the money they want, this gives them a great incentive to go back to work."
Trump went on to say, “there was a difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive.”
Trump also took the opportunity to criticize the Democrats, saying, “We are doing that without the Democrats. We should have been able to do it easily with them but they want all of these additional things that have nothing to do with helping people.”
Democrats are likely to challenge the executive actions in court. Trump first laid out the executive orders at a hastily called news conference on Friday at his New Jersey golf club, where he said he wasn't concerned about the legality of the actions he promised.