President Donald Trump bypassed Congress by signing four executive orders at his golf club in New Jersey on Saturday.
One of the executive orders extends unemployment benefits to $400 per week instead of the $600 unemployed Americans received in addition to state unemployment benefits.
The $400 per week benefits are retroactive to the week of August 1.
When a reporter asked if $400 would be a “hardship” for people who were getting $600 plus state benefits, Trump said, “Well, no, this is not a hardship, this is the money that they need.”
He added: “This is the money they want. And this gives them a great incentive to go back to work so this is much more than what was originally agreed. The 600 was a number that was there and as you know, there was, there was difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive.”
A second executive order creates a payroll tax holiday for Americans earning less than $100,000 annually. And a third executive order freezes evictions and foreclosures for some renters and mortgage holders until the end of the year, beginning September 1.
A fourth executive order waives penalties and interests for federally held student loans through the end of the year.
In announcing his executive orders, Trump took aim at Congressional Democrats, accusing them of “holding aid hostage” because they want “bailout money for states that have been badly managed for many years”.