President Trump announced at a press conference on Monday, Aug. 3, that he intends to suspend the payroll tax and evictions. Given the delays in reaching agreement in the House on these sensitive issues that require immediate resolution, President Trump could use his powers and implement an executive order.
The issue of evictions is of concern to the entire political leadership and requires immediate resolution. There are some 110 million people living in rented homes in the United States, of whom 20 percent or 23 million, are at risk of eviction by Sept. 30, according to a study by the Defense Eviction Project.
With the additional $600 for unemployment now officially due, some 24 million Americans said they have little or no chance of being able to pay next month’s rent, according to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.
President Trump was adamant about this situation, and when asked about it, he said, “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.”
In addition, he noted that people who are evicted often go to homeless shelters where they may be at greater risk of contracting the CCP Virus.
President Trump said that evictees are not criminals but victims. If they cannot afford to pay their obligations today, it is not necessarily their fault but the CCP Virus that has plagued the world economy and the United States. “It’s not their fault, it’s China’s fault. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s China’s fault,” he said.
Similarly, President Trump suggested that he could use his executive authority to reduce payroll taxes, a proposal he has advocated since the beginning of the virus-induced economic crisis, but which has received little support, especially from Democrats.
“I can also do it through an executive order, so we’ll talk about that,” President Trump said.
HEROES ACT versus HEALS Act
Democratic leaders and White House negotiators are working hard to reconcile the differences between the $3.5 billion HEROES Act passed by the House and the $1 billion HEALS Act introduced by Senate Republicans last week.
Both sides are under increasing pressure to reach an agreement, considering that the extra $600 in unemployment benefits expired a few days ago, dealing a severe financial blow to the millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Both sides continue to disagree on some of the most critical points, including an extension of the extra unemployment assistance and help for tenants facing eviction, two issues that Trump said he will prioritize in the next round of aid, regardless of whether an agreement is reached.
“We want to work on the evictions so that people don’t get evicted. We’ll work on the payments for the people,” Trump said last week. “And the rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care. We really don’t care. We want to take care of the people.”