Trump, speaking to reporters Thursday before leaving on a trip to Ohio, said he also expects to sign orders on eviction protection and on student loan repayment. Unilateral action by Trump likely would set up a legal fight over presidential authority.
The president made the comments after House Speaker
Meadows said before the Thursday meeting that the chances of success in the talks hinge of Democrats’ willingness to dial back their initial $3.4 trillion proposal, noting that they have so far shown no flexibility while his side has offered go beyond the GOP’s original $1 trillion plan.
“I think if we don’t reach a top-line number, there becomes very little incentive to have further conversations,” he said. “At this point, they are still at $3.4 trillion, and going north.”
The Trump administration also has been discussing tapping unspent money from the $2 trillion stimulus passed in March to fund the executive orders.
“There are limitations with what we can do from an executive order point of view, but we will be as aggressive and robust as we possibly can be,” Meadows said.
All of the unilateral moves face the
“I assume he’s contemplating it to send a signal that he is sick and tired that Democrats are not negotiating,” Grassley said.
For her part, Pelosi said Thursday that she would support Trump extending the eviction moratorium for renters, but additional funding must be approved by
After more than a week of negotiations with Mnuchin and Meadows, Schumer and Pelosi said they still have significant differences, including over the enhanced unemployment benefit that was in the last stimulus bill but now has expired.
The talks take on added urgency as time passes. The November general election is 89 days away and economic data show signs that the economy is still hobbling along. The
If Trump orders the
The executive branch does have authority to delay tax due dates for as long as a year during a declared disaster. Trump’s order would likely face legal challenges because it’s unclear whether he has the authority to require employers to hand over the savings to their employees.
Employers are required to withhold and submit payroll levies on behalf of their workers. That makes them more likely to hang onto that money so they aren’t stuck trying to get it back from staff if the bill comes due. In that event, many wouldn’t even have seen relief, because the money wouldn’t ever have reached their paychecks.
With expanded unemployment benefits, Trump likely would have to redirect money that is already allocated for states and comes with directions from Congress about how to spend it that are sufficiently broad. Federal law requires the administration to spend only the money that Congress has authorized, regardless of what an executive order says.
“To the extent that there is a chunk of money that has been appropriated to the states, that suggests there is some room under the law to proceed,” said Gordon Gray, director of fiscal policy at the American Action Forum.
(Updates with Meadows comments starting in the fourth paragraph.)
--With assistance from
Gregory Mott, Joe Schneider
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