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Trump extends $400 per week in direct unemployment benefits as pandemic aid

US President Donald Trump on Saturday announced that he would extend coronavirus unemployment benefits and taxes into next year with executive orders. According to reports, Trump said that he would use the unused funds from the Cares act to continue unemployment payments to millions of newly unemployed Americans at a rate of $400 per week. 

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: August 09, 2020 7:20 IST
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminste
Image Source : AP

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US President Donald Trump on Saturday announced that he would extend coronavirus unemployment benefits and taxes into next year with executive orders. According to reports, Trump said that he would use the unused funds from the Cares act to continue unemployment payments to millions of newly unemployed Americans at a rate of $400 per week. This a drop of $200 from the earlier $600 payments. The weekly payments defer payroll tax through the end of 2020, defer students loans and interest and extend the federal eviction moratorium. 
 Meanwhile, according to The Guardian's report, the Democrats had been pushing for a resumption of the $600 extra aid which ended on July 31, saying it was a lifeline for those hit hardest by the economic crisis. 

 The action to extend unemployment payments, cut payroll taxes, continue the suspension of tenant evictions and to ease the burden of student loan debt came in one executive order and three memoranda.

Asked by a reporter why the benefits would be $400 instead of the previous $600, Trump responded: “This is the money they need, this is the money they want, this gives them a great incentive to go back to work.” He added: “There was a difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive.”
 
Trump also said the employee portion of the payroll tax would be deferred from Aug. 1 through the end of the year. The move would not directly aid unemployed workers, who do not pay the tax when they are jobless, and employees will need to repay the federal government eventually without an act of Congress, where there is bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill.

 According to news agency Associated Press, the executive orders could face legal challenges questioning the president’s authority to spend taxpayer dollars without the express approval of Congress. Trump largely stayed on the sidelines during the administration’s negotiations with congressional leaders, leaving the talks on his side to the chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

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