Wall Street Journal: Trump stretched law with executive orders, like Obama

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board criticized President Trump for signing executive orders Saturday to extend unemployment benefits and other coronavirus relief measures, likening his actions to those taken by former President Obama. 

In an editorial published late Sunday, the board wrote Trump was “right to walk away rather than succumb” to Democrats’ “multi-trillion-dollar blackmail,” but editors voiced concern about Trump’s executive orders. 

“The bad news is that he followed the Barack Obama method with executive orders, one of which stretched the law in a way that a future progressive President will surely cite as precedent,” the Journal’s board wrote.

The board said Trump‘s “worst order” was the one that extended temporary unemployment benefits. 

That order would extend the enhanced unemployment benefits that expired about two weeks ago, but the payments will be lowered from $600 to $400 per week and states are required to cover 25 percent of the costs. 

“Covid-19 is a national emergency, and unemployment is the result of the virus and government shutdowns. But Congress passed jobless aid as part of the Cares Act that was separate from the Disaster Relief fund. Mr. Trump is commandeering the power of the purse that the Constitution reserves for Congress,” the editorial board wrote. 

Trump signed the orders, which also suspend payroll taxes and offer federal eviction and student loan relief, at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., amid stalled negotiations between congressional Democrats and the White House on a fifth round of coronavirus relief in Congress. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Saturday he supports Trump “exploring his options to get unemployment benefits and other relief to the people who need them most” and accused Democrats of sabotaging negotiations over a relief package. 

Democrats, however, quickly criticized Trump’s orders. In a joint statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Trump’s “meager announcements” show he “still does not comprehend the seriousness or the urgency of the health and economic crisis facing working families.” 

Tags Barack Obama Chuck Schumer coronavirus relief Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Wall Street Journal

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