The White House is confident President Donald Trump’s four new executive orders will stand up in court as lawmakers denounce the unilateral move as ‘unconstitutional’ and the action faces potential legal battles.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday morning that Democrats will have to explain a lot if they decide to legally challenge the executive orders aimed at providing relief to Americans in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘[They] will have some explaining to do,’ Mncuhin told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace of the opposition party.
‘I am pleased that President Trump has taken action to ensure that economic relief continues to go to America’s workers, families and businesses,’ Mnuchin wrote in a statement Sunday.
Democrats, however, are questioning the constitutionality of the orders and have raised concerns over some measures they say are problematic.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told ABC News Sunday morning that the executive orders are ‘faulty and unworkable’ for where Democrats feel it should be.
‘The event at the country club is just what Trump does — a big show but it doesn’t do anything,’ he lamented to ABC News This Week host George Stephanopoulos.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said the measures are all an ‘illusion’ of progress.
‘What the president did is, I agree what the Republican senator said, it was unconstitutional slop,’ Pelosi said, echoing comments from Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse from Saturday.
‘While it has the illusion of saying, we’re going to have a moratorium on evictions. It says, ‘I’m going to ask the folks in charge to study if that’s feasible.’ When he says he’s going to do the payroll tax, what he’s doing is undermining Social Security and Medicare,’ she continued.
‘So these are illusions,’ the California Democrat reiterated. ‘And they really do not – what he calls in our bill unnecessary.’
Trump’s top economic adviser Peter Navarro signaled he isn’t worried about the administration being sued over the four separate executive actions.
‘One of the things I’ve learned here at the White House going through a lot of work on executive orders is what we have the statutory authority to do,’ Navarro said during an interview with NBC News’ Meet the Press Sunday morning.
‘And I’m confident every single one of those orders, which cleared through the office of legal council, will stand up,’ he told host Chuck Todd.
Top economic adviser Larry Kudlow also defended Trump’s actions against Democrats who claim it won’t make much difference in Americans’ lives.
‘It provides significant economic assistance,’ Navarro told ABC’s Stephanopoulos following Schumer’s appearance.
‘There’s still a lot of hardship out there, there’s a lot of heartbreak out there, and the point that President Trump made yesterday is that — on several occasions — we tried to get for example, a compromise deal on the unemployment assistance,’ Kudlow continued.
‘Because the Democrats rejected various compromises, at least twice to my knowledge, the president felt he had to take action and it will be timely action, and it will be temporary action … let’s help those who still need help,’ he added.
Trump’s executive orders, which he signed Saturday afternoon at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, include suspending payroll taxes for those making less than $96,000, reducing and extending expired unemployment benefits to a $400-per-week boost, placing a memorandum on evictions and deferring student loan payments.
The two biggest concerns from Democrats are the payroll tax cut, which they argue would harm social security, and the unemployment benefits.
Under the unemployment benefits order, Trump lowered the $600-per-week boost, which was passed in a previous stimulus package and expired last month, to $400-per-week. The action also now requires states to pay 25 per cent of those benefits to their jobless citizens.
Democrats argue states already strapped for cash in the midst of the economic crisis will not be able to pay those benefits to the millions left jobless as a result of the pandemic.
‘The payroll tax cut, we clearly have the authority to do it, that can be done easily through the Treasury Department,’ Navarro argued.
Mnuchin assured during his Fox News Sunday interview that before the order was drafted, states told him they could get the extra unemployment benefits ‘up and running.’
Trump signaled during the executive order signing on Saturday that he could likely face legal troubles over the measures, and Democrats confirmed that suspicion by questioning the constitutionality of the unilateral motions.
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said he ‘appreciates’ that lawmakers, including some Republicans believe there are some issues with the president taking action.
‘Maybe we’re going to go to court on them,’ he conceded to ABC’s Stephenopoulos during an interview Sunday morning. ‘We’re going to go ahead with our actions anyways.’
‘Our council’s office, the Treasury Department believes it has the authority to temporarily suspend tax collections,’ Kudlow said. ‘So we’re banking on that.’