President Donald Trump signed four executive orders over the weekend to give Americans’ various forms of stimulus relief due to the pandemic. However, a second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks was not among them, probably because funding authority is the domain of Congress, not presidential powers.
It’s still possible Americans could get another stimulus check. However, it appears it will take Congress coming back to the table to complete the deal that broke down last week and now President Trump’s executive order pen. Will that happen? Will Republicans and Democrats continue negotiating? If they do reach a deal eventually, it’s likely $1,200 stimulus checks will be in them based on their past statements about agreeing on that concept. The deal broke down over other things.
“They don’t give another $1,200 payment to people,” Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on August 9, of Trump’s executive orders.
On that show, both Nancy Pelosi and Mnuchin said they would be willing to negotiate again. Mnuchin indicated that the White House would like Democrats to agree to a piecemeal deal to get various provisions done, like stimulus checks.
“Any time they have a new proposal, we’re willing to listen,” said Mnuchin of Democrats. “We agreed with the Democrats. We both want to send more checks to the American workers…we’ve said let’s pass legislation on the things we agree on and knock these off one at a time, and they’ve refused to do that.”
“Democrats repeat our call to Republicans to return to the table, meet us halfway and work together to deliver immediate relief to the American people,” a statement read from Pelosi and Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer.
Here’s what you need to know:
Both Sides’ Sunday Appearances Indicated Some Willingness to Come Back to the Table
Pelosi strongly criticized Trump’s executive orders, calling them “unconstitutional slop.” She said the orders give the “illusion” of helping people. The orders provided a payroll tax holiday, suspended evictions and student loans, and provided $400 weekly extra unemployment benefits, down from $600 before the enhanced benefits expired.
Pelosi claimed the payroll tax holiday was “undermining social security and Medicare.” She also slammed Republicans in Congress for supporting a bill that she believes didn’t do enough to help the “millions of children in our country” who “are food insecure.” She also argued that Trump’s executive orders do nothing to address safely reopening schools.
However, when Wallace asked, “Are you ready to go back into talks?” Pelosi indicated that, “We have to reach an agreement.” She decried the “weakness of the president’s executive orders” and said, “Let’s put money in the pockets of American people.”
She said Democrats are willing to shave $1 trillion off their $3 trillion package if Republicans come up from their $1 trillion proposal. “We said meet us halfway.”
Pelosi stressed that both sides “need to come to an agreement” and said Democrats “care so much about the fact people are in need. What we have in the bill addresses the needs of the America people.”
Trump Accused Democrats of Being Obstructionists
The president’s press conference on August 8 covered many issues. He referenced stimulus checks a couple times by accusing Democrats of blocking them.
Trump referenced stimulus checks by another name when he said on August 8: “We have repeatedly stated our willingness to immediately sign legislation providing expanded unemployment benefits, protecting Americans from eviction, and providing additional relief payment to families,” he said.
The president had previously expressed his support for a second stimulus check both on Twitter and in interviews.
Democrats “have refused these offers,” he said, alleging, “What they really want is bail out money for states run by Democratic governors and mayors and run very badly for many many years and many decades in fact. It has nothing to do with the China Virus. It has nothing to do with anything we’ve been talking about.”
The president’s executive orders covered a payroll tax holiday, deferred student loan payments, a suspension on evictions, and $400 enhanced employment benefits. Some question the legality of the orders.
He accused Democrats of holding “vital assistance hostage on behalf of extreme partisan demands….Many of the far left policies they’re pushing have nothing to do with what we’ve been working on so hard.”
Trump also indicated he felt the Democrats’ plan was too expansive. He said their plan “includes stimulus checks for illegal aliens…They want to have open borders. We don’t want to have open borders.”
He also accused Democrats of blocking “direct payments of $3,400 for a family of four,” which was a reference to stimulus checks, as well as additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to help businesses and support to help K12 schools reopen.