President Donald Trump’s executive order and memorandums to provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic don’t seem feasible or legal, experts said Saturday.
Trump made an end run around Congressional Democrats with an executive order and three memoranda aimed at boosting the economy, but analysts said the wording of the orders raised more questions than answers.
For instance, the executive order will allow companies to avoid collecting payroll taxes, but analysts said workers would still be on the hook to pay the taxes by next April 15.
Trump has been a big fan of a payroll tax holiday, but the tax break is not popular among Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill as these taxes fund the Social Security program.
One Trump memorandum would provide $400 a week in extra unemployment benefits. The federal money would come from disaster relief funds. Analysts questioned using these funds with the U.S. hurricane season ahead. Cash-strapped states would have to pay $100 of the extra funds. The program may only last 4 weeks before it runs out of money,
Ernis Tedeschi, a former Treasury Department economist tweeted he didn’t think the unemployment insurance plan would work.
One Trump memorandum doesn’t create an eviction moratorium but asks if certain agencies can “maybe do something” about evictions, said Bharat Ramamurti, a member of the COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Commission, in a tweet.
Congressional Democratic leaders issued a joint statement trashing the orders and urging Republicans to return to the negotiating table.
Sen. Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s actions “unworkable, weak and narrow.”
Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, said that Congress needs to pass legislation. The July employment report showed that job growth is slowing as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.
“The crisis is real, while the economy has already shown signs of losing momentum.” Swonk said in a tweet.