Janice Reed
Community Specialist
Posted August 11, 2020

Congress at a stand still - the president steps in with COVID relief

Congress has been at a stand-still regarding coronavirus relief, however an executive order from the president could expedite some financial relief. See how this affects you.
Janice Reed
Community Specialist
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Congress at a stand still - the president steps in with COVID relief
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As congress continues to debate what the next stimulus package will look like, the president’s office has released an executive order with memorandums calling for extended unemployment aid, eviction protection, and payroll tax relief (for those earning less than $100,000 annually). While an executive order alone is not law, understanding what the order proposes and its impact on the current relief discussions in Congress is crucial to those of us who are waiting on some form of financial support from the government.

What’s changed?

The landscape of Coronavirus support discussions has been changing so rapidly, it’s understandable if you’re not fully updated on what’s happening right now. Here is a snapshot of the current situation...

Indecision from Congress

Democrats and Republicans have both tried to pass their versions of an acceptable stimulus package, but have met resistance in seeing their plans through the Congressional voting process. Congress was expected to resolve their debates by August 7th, however we are well past that date with no stimulus plan passed. Their inability to decide on an acceptable stimulus package leaves many Americans in a bind as they struggle without the aid of the CARES Act’s federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which expired at the end of July 2020.

The central points of debate between members of Congress are:

  • Too much government spending (regarding the Democrat proposed HEROES Act)
  • Too little financial aid given to citizens (regarding the Republican proposed HEALS Act)

In order to produce a stimulus package for Americans who are suffering financially from the effects of Coronavirus, members of congress will have to negotiate an acceptable middle ground across party lines. As congress members struggle to agree, Americans who were receiving pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) to cover their expenses have now gone two weeks without the $600 benefit they used to receive, and will likely be living without financial aid for several more weeks before a new stimulus package is enacted and begins to offer tangible financial support.

Executive order released in response

In response to this delay, the President’s administration released an executive order with several memorandums on August 8, 2020 detailing four programs for rapid financial assistance. This move attempts to bypass the Congressional process, which is an unorthodox step for any President to take. Despite this, some Americans may be relieved to see some form of progress in this area, especially if they’re in a dire situation financially.

What does the executive order really mean?

The executive order and accompanying memoranda released by the President this weekend call for the following actions:

  • Add $400 per week to unemployment (similar to the additional $600 per week PUA benefit active through July 2020)
  • Place a continued moratorium on evictions
  • Defer paycheck tax for employees making under $100k/year
  • Defer student loan interest and payments through the end of the year

By enacting this executive order and memorandums, the President is obliging government agencies, businesses, and individuals, to take action toward providing the above relief for citizens. Whether or not these agencies have the resources to do so is still under scrutiny. For instance, the order calls for states to supplement the PUA payments ($300 coming from federal funding and $100 from state funding) and some states claim that they simply do not have funds for additional unemployment costs.

How could the executive action taken by the president affect me?

If enacted in full, the executive order could provide much needed financial relief from certain pressing obligations, like rent, student loan payments, and certain tax costs (if employed). If you’re currently unemployed and used to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance checks, you may begin to receive an addition to your unemployment again.

The executive actions taken over the weekend place pressure on Congress to define a relief package, though it’s uncertain whether this pressure will ultimately expedite or delay the development of a workable solution.

What about my stimulus check?

Although it’s not addressed in the executive order or memoranda from the president’s office, one of the main similarities in all of the stimulus packages proposed in Congress (the CARES, HEROES, and HEALS Acts) has been the inclusion of a stimulus check sent directly to eligible individuals. While nobody can guarantee that a stimulus check will be coming, based on the all-around support shown for a stimulus check in Congress, we can be fairly certain that it will be included in the upcoming stimulus package, under debate now.

This means that, while you may have to wait, once Congress passes a relief plan, it’s highly likely that a stimulus check is part of that plan.


What do you want to see from the government?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Janice Reed
Community Specialist
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Angela Carle

It's the damn evil demorats who could care less about us TRUE AMERICANS!!!! Because of the evil, greedy & power hungry demorats is WHY NOONE is getting a (stimulus check) yet!!! Drunken Pelosi is the WITCH DELAYING the MUCH needed stimulus checks! NOT the Republicans!!!

1y
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nick lopez

Just remember this is not free money, it's a temporary tax break, you will be required to pay it back after the Election! don't be fooled and don't put the blame on the Democrats, you can blame your lying President for this mess, He put you here!

1y
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2
Jeffery McCray

They keep saying every ELIGIBLE person will receive a stimulus check, I think everyone with a valid Ss# over the age of 18 should be able to get a stimulus check if they have worked in their life

1y
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Gregory Felts

Only people that can prove they are 100% Americans should get a stimulus check. Having a factious SS # is not proof of citizenship. Illegal folks should not get one. Sorry but I see illegal folks all the time getting rich off of our suffering and laughing at us for being so stupid as to give them free money. Become an American and welcome to the USA, stay illegal and go away.

1y
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1 Like
Brenda Romero

I like many others applied for unemployment n still 34 weeks latter have not seen a penny. I'm homeless and sleeping in my car with my two fur babies. I was arrested for leaving one of them in the car at 800 am to run in n buy eggs. He had water n food n

1y
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Brenda Romero

If I had received some help from unemployment I would have had a apt n been able to leave at home. But now I have more fines and on probation at 70 yrs old. Corona virus has taken my extra income n madr

1y
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Dustin Kelley

would like to see them do something for the American people and not their own selfish needs as always

1y
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Diane Wright

This is old news and just adds more confusion to what's really going on please update your site

1y
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Kenneth Lash

Again with the logjam in congress and Senate. Shame on you for ignoring the CITIZENS needs. You all need to be fired. I myself am fed up with your indecision and bickering.

1y
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Nelly Ellsworth

Is congress going to be included in this package? It is just “walking around” money!! Cut them out and give to the homeless: those people living in their cars, etc. NO illegals and no one living on unemployment who are lazy and won’t even go back to previous employer when called. LEGAL CITIZENS ONLY!!

42w
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1 Like
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