In lieu of the failed negotiations over additional relief funding from Congress, President Trump signed executive orders to provide expanded unemployment benefits, a temporary payroll tax deferral, eviction protection and student-loan relief.
Details on the executive actions include:
- Federal Eviction Moratorium: The eviction moratorium put in place for tenants by the CARES Act expired July 25, but due to the 30-day notice requirement, the moratorium actually ends on Aug. 24. In June, the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development extended the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for homeowners, but this new executive order instructs agencies, such as HUD and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, to consider measures and identify funds that would provide relief and spare renters and homeowners from eviction or foreclosure.
- Payroll Tax Deferral: This memorandum instructs the Internal Revenue Service to stop collecting the 6.2% employee-side payroll tax for those making $104,000 or less. The order is retroactive to July 1. Though the White House can only suspend collection without an act of Congress, and failure to withhold could eventually result in a $150 billion tax bill, President Trump has promised to ensure these payments are forgiven if re-elected.
- Enhanced Unemployment Benefits: In an effort to replicate the lapsed Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, this memorandum instructs relevant agencies to create an "assistance program for lost wages" by tapping $44 billion in unspent disaster relief funds. The weekly benefit would be structured as a $300 federal match to $100 provided by participating states. The memo calls on states to use Coronavirus Relief Fund proceeds provided by the CARES Act to trigger the federal match, pointing out that $80 billion remained unspent at the end of June. The memo calls for the program to run through the first week in December or until the Disaster Relief Fund is drawn down to $25 billion, which could last only five weeks or less.
- Defer Student Loan Payments: The CARES Act suspended payments, interest and collections on federal student loans for six months. These protections were slated to expire Sept. 30, but this memorandum extends the existing student loan payment suspension and interest freeze through the end of the year.
ABC will continue to provide additional updates on these executive orders and additional relief funding in Newsline.