COVID-19 Executive Orders: A Breakdown of Trump’s Actions on Unemployment Aid, Evictions, Student Loans, Payroll Taxes

BEDMINSTER, NJ – President Donald Trump signed four COVID-related orders on Saturday after weeks of failed negotiations between the White House and Congress on a radical new stimulus package. An order imposes a federal unemployment benefit reduced to $ 400 per week.

Millions of Americans have been the hardest hit by these failed talks as the weekly federal unemployment hike of $ 600 expired in July and a moratorium on evictions for federally subsidized housing also ended.

The decrees – a decree and the other three memoranda – relate to four categories: unemployment assistance, evictions, student loans and social security payroll taxes.

Here’s a breakdown of each:

This memorandum reinstates the federal unemployment assistance premium, but will reduce weekly payments from $ 600 to $ 400.

Trump said states will be asked to cover 25% of the costs and can use federal funds allocated through the CARES Act, the $ 2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill signed in March.

It’s unclear how this will be applied, but Trump has said it will be up to states to determine how much, if any, to fund.

It’s also unclear when Americans will see these renewed benefits in their bank accounts, but Trump has said the action will be “very quick.”

The $ 600 per week unemployment premium, part of the CARES Act, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, helped prop up the economy while averting financial disaster for millions of people laid off.

House Democrats wanted to extend the boost from the new stimulus package, while Senate Republicans wanted to reduce it to $ 200.

This memorandum cuts the 7.65% payroll tax from Social Security and Medicare to increase take-out paychecks until the end of the year.

The president said this would affect paychecks from August 1 to the end of 2020.

Trump did not explain how he would fund Medicare and Social Security benefits covered by the 7% employee income tax.

Trump faced bipartisan opposition when he proposed payroll tax cuts in March, but continued to push as stimulus talks continued.

The memorandum allows borrowers with federal student loans to have the ability to defer payments without penalty.

This will be extended until the end of 2020 and “very likely” beyond the end of the year, Trump said.

The only executive decree in the package will extend the freeze on evictions.

Millions of Americans are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage. More than 12 million tenants living in federally subsidized apartments or units with federally guaranteed mortgages lost that safety net when the federal moratorium on evictions expired on July 25.

Without moratoriums, owners can initiate eviction proceedings within 30 days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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