Trump thinks he’s been given vast new powers. Now he’s going to use them

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.

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.
Earlier at the Saturday news conference Trump repeatedly accused Democrats of using the stimulus bill to try to steal the election from him, which is ridiculous. As Covid-19 continues to spread across the country and has infected nearly 5 million Americans, the place he could have but wouldn’t use executive authority — mandating face masks in public — should maybe have the most bearing on the election.
Regardless of whether this gambit to sign executive actions will ultimately pan out, it’s absolutely not the way lawmaking in the US is supposed to work.
Any schoolkid will tell you, assuming they go back to school, that Congress passes laws and the White House enacts them. But that system is broken in Trump’s Washington. The President and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi haven’t spoken since last October.
On Sunday, Pelosi called Trump’s executive actions “absurdly unconstitutional.” In an interview with Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Pelosi said when asked if she would sue to block them, “Well, the fact is, is that whether they’re legal or not takes time to figure out. I associate my remarks with what the Senator (Ben) Sasse who says, they’re ‘unconstitutional slop.’ Right now we want to address the needs of the American people.”
Pelosi continued, “As my constitutional advisers tell me, they’re absurdly unconstitutional.”
The hallmark of Trump’s time in office is finding new ways around Congress, particularly since Democrats impeached him.
The House of Representatives passed legislation that would do some version of the expanded unemployment and eviction moratorium. They rejected the idea of a payroll tax holiday, which won’t help the unemployed and could speed the insolvency of Social Security.