The good news is that President Donald Trump is aiming to help Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, signing executive actions to extend expanded unemployment benefits and assist renters and homeowners.
Trump thinks he’s been given vast new powers. Now he’s going to use them
The bad news is that he’s seizing new powers for the presidency to do it.
The first thing reporters and experts wondered when Trump announced his executive actions, was, can he do that?
It’s not clear! But he’s doing it anyway. When he announced he was signing executive actions, which he kept referring to interchangeably with law, no reporters had read them.
One executive action he signed, which Democrats are sure to fight in court, would extend expanded unemployment benefits at as much as $400 per week — 25% of which states are being asked to cover — instead of the $600 per week Democrats wanted and the $200 per week Senate Republicans suggested. As CNN’s Kristen Holmes reported Saturday night, that memorandum comes with plenty of strings and is leaving experts doubtful it’ll help a lot of the unemployed.
But Trump brushed off the technicality that it hasn’t actually been passed into law by arguing that “everybody wants it” at a Saturday news conference/campaign rally where he announced the moves.
“I”m not saying they’re not going to come back and negotiate,” he said Saturday, suggesting it was some kind of negotiating tactic and daring Democrats to challenge him in court.
The bonus in his mind is he can grouse about their efforts in the stimulus bill to beef up vote-by-mail programs during the pandemic and to give money to the Postal Service.