Updated: August 09, 2020 06:21 PM
Created: August 09, 2020 05:46 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —After the deadline for Congress to agree on an economic relief package came and went, President Trump went around lawmakers and signed four Executive Orders Saturday. However, many lawmakers are left wondering if President Trump’s orders are constitutional.
The first order extends unemployment benefits and would give people an additional $400 a week instead of the previous $600.
“Three-hundred dollars of that comes from the federal government, one hundred from the states and that's questionable,” said Dr. Reilly White, associate professor of finance at UNM.
That percentage of money coming from the federal government will be taken from the Disaster Relief Fund, which has raised concerns from some lawmakers.
“We know that the $44 million Disaster Relief Fund, which is being tapped for this isn't significant enough in itself to cover over 30 million unemployment benefits through the end of the year,” Dr. White said.
The next order defers payroll taxes. That means if someone makes less than $4,000 every two weeks, they’ll receive more money on their paychecks because the government won’t pull out money for social security and Medicare. That money, however, would still be due at a later time.
For homeowners and renters, Trump signed an order asking federal agencies to commit to exploring avenues to assist renters and lawmakers, but it won't necessarily halt evictions.
“The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of CDC shall consider whether any measures temporarily halting residential evictions of any tenants for failure to pay rent are reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from one State or possession into any other State or possession,” read the order in part.
“This is a consideration,” Dr. White added. “It doesn't actually do anything in itself, but it provides some consideration that this could be an issue and for some government officials to look into it.”
Lastly, Trump has asked the Education Department to extend student loan relief from the CARES Act through the end of the year.
“Student loans represent about $1.6 trillion of outstanding U.S. debt right now,” Dr. White said. “That's a huge number, heavily concentrated in people under the age of 40.”
White said these orders will certainly push Congress to Act, but until they do—White said to hold onto your money.
“There is uncertainty about how this will behave,” he said. “I think for the nature of the average person, nothing can be certain until this goes through Congress in its final stages, and until that time happens, until we get congressional approval on a stimulus package that pays for some of these ideas, it is going to be—nothing is given.”
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