Trump signs executive order on pandemic relief

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order and memoranda for additional economic relief to help Americans deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The directives issued on Saturday include a presidential memorandum for up to 400 dollars in unemployment benefits every week. Similar weekly payments of 600 dollars expired at the end of last month.

Other memoranda defer the collection of certain payroll tax obligations and student loan payments.

The moves come as Congressional Republicans and Democrats remain at odds over economic recovery plans.

At a hastily arranged news conference in the state of New Jersey, Trump accused Democrats of continuing to hold relief measures “hostage.”

But US media say directing federal spending without Congressional approval may create legal challenges. The Constitution grants Congress authority over federal budgets.

Senior Democrats say the executive actions violate the Constitution and are invalid.

Analysts say Trump’s latest move may deepen the chasm between the two parties and prevent them from agreeing on additional economic programs.


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