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Trump lashes out at Republican Ben Sasse for slamming executive orders as ‘unconstitutional slop’

Donald Trump bashed Ben Sasse on Monday as a ‘rogue’ Republican after the Nebraska senator called the president’s flurry of executive orders ‘unconstitutional slop.’

‘RINO Ben Sasse, who needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination for Senate from the GREAT State of Nebraska, has, now that he’s got it (Thank you President T), gone rogue, again,’ Trump charged of Sasse in a tweet Monday morning.

‘This foolishness plays right into the hands of the Radical Left Dems!’ the president continued.

Sasse spoke out against the president signing four executive orders on Saturday to provide relief in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic after negotiations on Capitol Hill collapsed last week.

‘Then pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop,’ Republican Senator Sasse wrote in a statement Saturday.

‘President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law,’ the Nebraska senator insisted . ‘Under the Constitution, that power belongs to the American people acting through their members of Congress.’

Sasse is a member of the Judiciary and Finance Committees.

The president also thanked Republican Senator Bill Cassidy for his statement in support of the executive action.

‘Thank you to Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana for his very smart words on the just signed Executive Orders!’ Trump posted to Twitter Monday.

Cassidy wrote in a statement Saturday that the president is ‘doing what Nancy Pelosi won’t do: provide direct aid to Americans who need it.’

He claimed in his statement that Pelosi ‘refuses’ to compromised with Republicans.

Some of Trump’s other GOP allies issued much less harsh criticism of the president, claiming they would prefer that Congress be the entity to take action in providing a legislative compromise on economic stimulus and relief.

‘I appreciate the President taking this decisive action,’ South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted Saturday, adding, ‘but would much prefer a congressional agreement,’

‘I believe President Trump would prefer the same,’ the Senate Judiciary Chairman continued.

One of Trump’s biggest Capitol Hill allies and frequent golf buddy also wrote the executive orders were a good move from the president.

‘Great decision by President @realDonaldTrump to use executive orders to continue the federal unemployment supplement at the $400 level,’ Graham tweeted.

Republican Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander shared the same sentiment.

‘Pres. @realDonaldTrump is doing all he can to help workers, students & renters, but Congress is the one who should be acting,’ Alexander tweeted Saturday.

‘Democrats should stop blocking common sense proposals to help students going back to school & college & parents going back to work who need child care,’ he said.

Trump signed four executive orders Saturday afternoon while at his Bedminster golf club, which he said during a press conference there are related to ‘China virus relief.’

The actions include suspending payroll taxes for those making less than $96,000, extending expired unemployment benefits to a $400-per-week boost, putting a memorandum on evictions and deferring student loan payments.

Lawmakers were trying to achieve some of these same actions in another sweeping coronavirus relief package, but negotiations collapsed last week.

The signage came hours after the White House signaled Washington’s gridlock had compelled the president to act as the pandemic continues to ravage the country’s economy just months before the November election.

Independent Representative Justin Amash said Saturday that Trump is acting against the Constitution by taking unilateral action.

‘Our Constitution doesn’t authorize the president to act as king whenever Congress doesn’t legislate,’ the Republican-turned-Libertarian Michigan congressman tweeted.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer bashed the executive orders as ‘weak and narrow’ in a Saturday statement, demanding that more still needs to be done.

‘The president’s meager, weak, and unconstitutional actions further demand that we have an agreement and any constitutional question issue is a separate issue,’ Pelosi reiterated during an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

It is still unclear if the executive orders will take effect as Trump signaled during his press conference Saturday that he will likely face legal action over the measures. 

But Trump’s top economic adviser Peter Navarro said it isn’t productive for Pelosi to exit every negotiation and slam Republicans on television.

‘This should be easy. The question we’ve had watching this unfold, the question the president has is whether the Democrats really are sincere when they come to the table. And I’m not sure,’ Navarro told NBC News’ Chuck Todd Sunday morning.

‘It doesn’t help when Speaker Pelosi goes out after every day with her scarves flying and just beats the heck out of us for being cruel people,’ he added, referencing Pelosi’s use of fashion scarves to act as face coverings. 

Trump turned his presidential signing event Saturday into a semi-political rally, launching broadsides against Democratic rival Joe Biden and the news media as members of his Bedminster golf club laughed at his attack lines.

Doubling down on his strikes against congressional Democrats, Trump accused them of blocking a compromise deal on relief because they want ‘bailout money for states that have been badly managed for many years’. 

‘Many of the far-left policies they’re pushing have nothing to do with the corona,’ Trump said.

The sweeping moves raised legal questions about the president’s authority to take such steps, as Congress has the sole power to tax and appropriate funds. However, the orders claim powers under the national emergency declared in March in response to the pandemic.

Trump first announced an order that would allow employers to defer payroll tax through the end of the year.  

The second order included a freeze on evictions that will allow hard-hit renters to remain in their homes even if they can’t afford payments. 

A third order, perhaps the most crucial, will extend the unemployment benefits that have run out, offering people an additional $400 per week – down from the $600 that was part of the relief package that expired this month. 

‘It’s $400 a week, and we’re doing it without the Democrats,’ Trump said, asking states to cover 25 percent of the cost. It was not immediately clear where the federal portion would come from – though the president suggested he was looking to use unspent funds from previous coronavirus relief bills – and Trump said it would be up to states to determine how much, if any of it to fund. 

Trump remarked that there should never have been an issue in coming to a benefits deal with Democrats, who had wanted to renew the original $600 a week. 

Republicans originally proposed $200 a week and then upped their offer to $400, but Democrats still said it wasn’t enough. This was one of the major areas of difference that held up getting a legislative deal. 

Asked if the reduction in supplemental benefits to $400 would be a ‘hardship’ for the millions currently eligible, Trump replied: ‘Well no, it’s not a hardship, this is the money that they need this is the money they want and this gives them a great incentive to go back to work.’ 

‘And as you know they were different there was difficulty with the $600 number, because it really was a disincentive,’ he added, referring to the fact that the $600 federal supplement put total average unemployment benefits higher than the average wages in more than 30 states. 

The fourth and final order will extend the suspension of student loan payments through the end of the year.  

Of the new orders, Trump said: ‘We didn’t think we would have to [take executive action] but Democrats have been unreasonable. Not just unreasonable, ridiculous.’ 

Democrats are largely critical of the executive orders, claiming it won’t do enough to address issues Americans are facing.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it on Sunday ‘faulty and unworkable,’ and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the orders were signed to create an ‘illusion’ of helping Americans.

But top economic adviser Larry Kudlow defended the move to ABC News on Sunday morning, claiming it ‘provides significant economic assistance.’

‘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 told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ This Week.

‘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.

Up until now, Trump has largely stayed on the sidelines during his administration’s negotiations with congressional leaders. 

The talks, which broke down in recent days, were led on his side by chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Democrats had said they would lower their spending demands from $3.4trillion to $2trillion but said the White House needed to increase their offer. Republicans have proposed a $1trillion plan. 

White House aides have watched the talks break down with apprehension, fearful that failure to close a deal could further damage an economic recovery already showing signs of slowing down.  

The aides are trying to frame the executive orders signings as a sign that Trump was taking action in a time of crisis.  

Trump has not specified how the payroll tax deferral would work, and it was unclear whether he had the authority to take such an action without approval from Congress.

The move would not aid unemployed workers, who do not pay the tax when they are jobless, and would face bipartisan opposition in Congress. 

The cut, long a Trump wish, would affect payroll taxes that are intended to cover Medicare and Social Security benefits and take 7 percent of an employee’s income. Employers also pay 7.65 percent of their payrolls into the funds. 

Friday’s negotiations at the Capitol added up to only ‘a disappointing meeting,’ said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York. 

He said the White House had rejected an offer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – California) to curb Democratic demands by about $1trillion.  

Pelosi and Schumer continue to insist on a huge aid package to address a surge in cases and deaths, double-digit joblessness and the threat of poverty for millions of the newly unemployed.

Senate Republicans have been split, with roughly half of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rank and file opposed to another rescue bill at all. 

Four prior coronavirus response bills totaling almost $3trillion have won approval on bipartisan votes despite intense wrangling, but conservatives have recoiled at the prospect of another Pelosi-brokered agreement with a whopping deficit-financed cost.

McConnell has kept his distance from the negotiations while coordinating with Mnuchin and Meadows. 

Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden accused Trump of waging ‘reckless war’ on Social Security with new executive action on coronavirus relief.  

Payroll taxes are used to fund Medicare and Social Security, and Biden called the tax holiday ‘Donald Trump’s first shot in a new, reckless war on Social Security.’

‘He is laying out his roadmap to cutting Social Security,’ Biden said in a statement. ‘Our seniors and millions of Americans with disabilities are under enough stress without Trump putting their hard-earned Social Security benefits in doubt.’ 

Biden said that Trump had declared the payroll tax holiday, which extends from September 1 to December 31, ‘with no protections or guarantees’ to make up the lost revenue in the Social Security Trust Fund. 

He called Trump’s actions ‘a series of half-baked measures.’ 

Pelosi, meanwhile, issued a joint statement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, saying Trump’s moves were ‘unworkable, weak and narrow.’

‘Today’s meager announcements by the President show President Trump still does not comprehend the seriousness or the urgency of the health and economic crises facing working families,’ the statement said.

The Congressional Democrats said that Trump’s orders would ‘provide little real help to families.’ 

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