CORONAVIRUS

$400 unemployment benefit: Trump signs executive order

President Trump has signed a series of orders aimed at providing relief to Americans suffering from the impact of economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

$400 unemployment benefit: Trump signs executive order
JIM WATSON AFP

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that extends the additional unemployment benefit for Americans struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump’s decision to sign the executive order was prompted by Congress’ failure to agree on a new coronavirus stimulus bill on Friday. The impasse between Democrats and Republican remains as congressional lawmakers break for summer reccess with no deal in sight. 

Trump’s executive action will provide unemployed Americans with an additional $400 per month -- $200 less than the supplemental benefit that expired at the end of July – and requires states to fund 25% of it.

Asked about what would happen if states did not have the available financial resources to provide the funding, Trump replied: "If they don't, they don't. That's up to them. The states have the money. It's sitting there."

US President Donald Trump signs executive orders extending coronavirus economic relief, during a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8, 2020.

Trump signs several executive orders

The executive order on unemployment benefits was one of a series of orders signed by the president at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J. on Saturday, all of which are aimed at providing relief to Americans suffering from the impact of the economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Other executive orders include directives providing relief to student loan borrowers, and protections against evictions, while another will provide a payroll tax holiday for Americans earning less than $100,000 a year.

During the press conference prior to signing the executive orders, Trump stated he decided to act on his own accord and order the benefits after two weeks of talks with Democrats failed to lead to an agreement on a new coronavirus stimulus package.

"We’ve had it," he said. "We’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American worker.”

The president also used the opportunity to rail against Democrats and his election rival, Joe Biden, who has been enjoying a commanding lead over the incumbent in recent polls as the November ballot approaches. 

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