It’s been over a week since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the HEALS Act. Yet, no decision has been taken on the next coronavirus package. At a time when negotiators are making no real progress on the coronavirus stimulus checks talks, President Donald Trump is considering the use of an executive order.
As per a report from the Washington Post, the Trump administration is considering "unilateral action" amid stalled talks over the coronavirus stimulus checks.
At a White House press briefing on Monday, Trump said he might take the route of an executive order to halt revived tenant evictions, and a payroll tax cut in an attempt to boost the economy amid coronavirus pandemic.
“A lot of people are going to be evicted, but I’m going to stop it because I’ll do it myself if I have to,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I have a lot of powers with respect to executive orders, and we’re looking at that very seriously right now.”
Trump said he could similarly use the executive order to lower payroll taxes. “I can do that also through an executive order, so we’ll be talking about that,” Trump said.
When Trump was asked why he isn’t taking part in the negotiation talks, Trump said he is involved but not physically. He, however, accused Democrats of “slow-rolling” the talks, adding that is why he may have to take matters into his own hands.
Previously, the idea to use an executive order was discussed to index capital gains to inflation. Doing this would have lowered the taxes on real estate and on stocks owned for a long time. Trump, however, shelved the plan last year saying it would disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
Can Trump use an executive order?
Trump has long been in favor of a temporary payroll tax cut. The President argues that it would indirectly boost the stimulus check amount, and directly raise the workers’ wages. However, Trump’s idea of the payroll tax cut has not gotten much support among both Democrats and Republicans.
As of now, it is not clear how Trump could spend the additional money without the approval of Congress. Also, how serious he is about making an executive order to speed up the coronavirus stimulus checks talks is not known as well.
Two White House outside economic advisors, recently, told The Wall Street Journal that one way Trump could get around the negotiations is by declaring a "national economic emergency" and then suspending the federal payroll taxes that take 7.5% from salaries and wages.
However, cutting federal payroll taxes would only benefit those that are working, and not the ones who have lost jobs.
“Executive orders do not exist to replace legislation or the normal give-and-take between the branches in making law,” said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, according to the Washington Post.