Congress Recesses; Trump Signs One Executive Order and Three Memorandums in Response to COVID-19

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Congress Recesses; Trump Signs One Executive Order and Three Memorandums in Response to COVID-19

On Saturday, August 8, President Trump signed for executive orders in an effort to provide economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress was unable to come to an agreement prior to the August recess; however, House and Senate leaders have said they will call back members if a deal materializes during the recess.

While largely reported as executive orders, in reality the President signed one executive order (housing evictions) and three memorandums, which do not carry as much weight as an executive order.

Delays payroll tax collection for those making under $104,000
The memorandum instructs the U.S. Treasury to halt collection of payroll taxes from September 1 through December 31 for workers who earn less than $4,000 every two weeks (that’s people earning under about $104,000 a year).

The deferral means that the employee will see a roughly 6.2 percent increase in their paycheck, delaying the contribution to social security. However, because it is a deferral, employees will be required to pay the social security contribution at a later date. The President has called for Congress to make the tax deferral a permanent tax cut.

Earlier relief measures approved by Congress, deferred most employer payroll taxes for the rest of 2020, so this is now an effort to defer the employee contribution.

Attempts to Extend Unemployment Aid
There are currently 30 million people on unemployment aid. Earlier relief packages included a short term additional $600 a week from the federal government on top of their state aid (which averaged $330 a week), which expired in July. Democrats want to continue at the $600 a week level. Republicans proposed $200.

The memorandum calls for federal aid to restart at a level of $400 a week. But requires states to cover $100 of the $400, nearly, impossible as most states are struggle to stay afloat due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Halting Evictions
The United States has about 110 million renters, and many have been hit hard by the layoffs in retail, restaurants and hospitality during the pandemic. The memorandum calls for Health and Human Services Secretary and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director to “consider” whether an eviction ban is needed.

Student Loan Deferral through 2020
Waives all interest on student loans held by the federal government through the end of 2020 and allows people to delay payments until Dec. 31.

Learn more about the NASE’s COVID-19 efforts, visit our COVID resource website.

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