President Trump Saturday signed four executive actions to provide Americans financial relief from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s a look at what they would do:
$400 weekly federal unemployment aid
Trump’s executive action calls for $400-per-week in supplemental unemployment aid. Unemployed people were getting $600-a-week extra until the federal program expired at the end of July.
Trump’s action would require states to pay for 25 percent of the $400 weekly benefit, while the federal government would pick up 75 percent.
Trump would divert up to $44 billion from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to cover the unemployment program.
The extra unemployment help would last until Dec. 6 or until the Disaster Relief Fund balance drops to $25 billion, “whichever occurs first,” according to the White House memo.
This supplemental aid is on top of existing state unemployment benefits. State payments vary widely, from $235 a week maximum in Mississippi to $1,234 in Massachusetts.
Assistance to Renters and Homeowners
Congress passed the CARES Act in March that issued a 120-day temporary eviction moratorium on renters in federal housing assistance programs or those who live in a property with a federally backed mortgage. That eviction moratorium expired in July.
Trump’s executive action would encourage federal efforts to help renters and homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure for failing to make their monthly payments. He directs his administration to identify available funds to “provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners who, as a result of the financial hardships caused by COVID-19, are struggling to meet their monthly rental or mortgage obligations.”
Payroll Tax holiday
Trump defers the payroll tax from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, for employees making $100,000 or less a year. The tax, deducted from workers’ paychecks, funds Social Security and Medicare. Employees would need to repay the federal government once the tax holiday ends without further action.
Extension of Student Loan Relief
The executive action suspends federal student loan payments and sets interest rates to 0 percent through Dec. 31, 2020. The current student loan relief programs were to expire on Sept. 30.