Temporary Economic Relief Ordered by President Trump

Written by: Natalie Klyashtorny

Many key provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) expired at the end of July. After members of Congress failed to arrive at an agreement for an additional stimulus package, President Donald Trump used his executive powers to attempt to enact some additional relief for the tens of millions adversely impacted by the pandemic.

As Congress is the only branch of government which has the power of appropriations, constitutional challenges are expected to the following directives issued by the President:

Deferral of Student Loan Payments

Deferral of payment for any student loan held by the federal government has been extended through December 31, 2020. Interest on the loans has also been waived through the end of the year. Full payment on the student loans is scheduled to re-start January 1, 2021.

Extension of Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Until the end of July, unemployed individuals were receiving an extra $600 per week in federal unemployment supplement payments. The President’s executive order provides for a supplement of $400 per week through December 6, 2020 or until funding runs out, which might be earlier. Of the $400 per week, the states will have to contribute 25% or $100 of each such payment.

Funding for the federal portion of the supplement is to come from the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Relief Fund, which is slated for natural disasters, so it is uncertain whether using these funds for pandemic relief would be allowed.


The executive order calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider whether an eviction ban should be extended past the end of July and for the Secretaries of the Departments of the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development to determine if additional funding is available to help renters.

Deferral of Payroll Taxes

The executive order directs the Department of Treasury to defer collecting payroll taxes from September 1, 2020 through the end of the year from individuals earning less than $4,000 every 2 weeks.

These taxes will still have to be paid at a later date, however, absent action from Congress.

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