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President Trump signs 4 executive orders aimed at pandemic relief

President Trump holds Saturday press briefing at New Jersey resort
Posted at 12:06 PM, Aug 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-08 18:41:10-04

BEDMINSTER, N.J. - President Donald Trump signed four executive orders Saturday at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey aimed at helping both working and unemployed Americans during the ongoing pandemic.

The orders include: Deferring the employee portion of the payroll tax until the end of the year for those making less than $100,000, enhancing unemployment benefits by $400 a week through the end of the year, deferring student loans and forgive interest into December (and possibly longer, the president eluded to extensions), and extend eviction moratoriums nationwide.

The president said if he is elected to another term in November he would make the payroll tax changes permanent.

To cover the increased cost of the enhanced unemployment benefits, states will be asked to cover 25 percent of the cost of the additional $400 a week. When asked at the press briefing what would happen if states did not cover their portion, the president said "if they don't, they don't" and said "they have the money."

The argument for his move is that Washington’s gridlock is compelling him to act as the pandemic undermines the country’s economy and the November election nears.

The president said people will see relief "very soon," when pressed about potential legal challenges to his executive orders, he said "some people" may challenge the executive orders but they will not win.

This came after a last-ditch effort by Democrats to revive collapsing Capitol Hill talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money ended in disappointment. Deadlocks on aid to states and local governments and renewing supplemental unemployment benefits are blocking the way to agreement.

During his Saturday speech, the president also announced he signed two bills that have to do with expanding health benefits for veterans.

Saturday's event had the feeling of a political rally by the end, as members of the president's golf club were able to attend the press briefing. As the president answered some questions from the media, audience members cheered.

The president gave a news conference at his exclusive country club Friday evening, where members had the chance to attend.

As if it were a political rally, club members offered cheers and jeers as the president delivered broadsides against his political foes.

Members booed when a reporter suggested the news conference violated social distancing regulations put in place by New Jersey's Democratic governor.