After Congress failed to come to a coronavirus relief bill consensus, President Trump signed four executive orders. These orders immediately had both sides aisle up in arms, as they questioned if the president’s executive orders were constitutional. Even his most loyal allies in Congress, who blamed the Democrats for not making a deal, wished Trump did not have to sign the executive orders and called on Congress to act. Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi immediately threatened legal action, but if they did, they would need a serious backup plan to tell their constituents why there won’t be any relief coming their way.
Trump’s executive orders include $400/week in unemployment, which extends the $600/week in the CARES Act that expired end of July. This order means the states pay for 25% and the federal government will pay for the rest of the 75%. Another order eliminates the payroll tax until the end of the year, a move that garnered a lot of Republican praise and a provision the Democrats did not want to include. The other two orders put on hold student loan payments, and protect against evictions. Mnuchin was clear throughout the negotiations that the White House would not pass a relief bill with a price tag higher than $1 trillion, and that executive orders would be their next move. But Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, who wanted $2.4 trillion in relief, would not budge.
Schumer and Pelosi then made the rounds on liberal media networks to slam the president. Schumer told MSNBC, “We came up with a strong plan, but we even were willing because we so much want to get this done. We said to the president, to the president’s negotiators last week, we’ll meet you in the middle. We’ll cut a trillion. You raise a trillion. You know what they said? Absolutely not. I said to them, you mean it’s your way or the highway? And they said, yep.” Pelosi said the executive orders were a “constitutional slop.”
But today, President Trump has signaled his move worked, and that Schumer and Pelosi want to come to the negotiation table. In a tweet, he wrote, “So now Schumer and Pelosi want to meet to make a deal. Amazing how it all works, isn’t it. Where have they been for the last 4 weeks when they were “hardliners”, and only wanted BAILOUT MONEY for Democrat run states and cities that are failing badly? They know my phone number!”
Key Republican senators also want Congress to come to some sort of deal. Senator Graham, a key Trump ally, wrote on Twitter, I appreciate the President taking this decisive action but would much prefer a congressional agreement. I believe President Trump would prefer the same.”
What to expect: If the Democrats legally challenge the executive orders without a relief bill to take their place, they will have serious issues with their upcoming elections. As President Trump has the power to sign any bill into law, they cannot play chicken with this bill. Democrats are going to have to give in, but they are going to want to control the narrative, and not make it look like Trump won. The time, however, is running out, and their backs are up against the wall.