With negotiations between House, Senate, and White House negotiators going badly for the past week, On August 8, 2020, the President signed four Executive Orders attempting to do by Executive action that Congress has not yet passed and sent to him by legislation. When the President threatened this action last week Congressional Democratic leaders responded with a threat of legal action to block what Congressional Democrats believe would be an unconstitutional act by the President.
Here are the four Executive Orders signed by the President today:
- Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners
- Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster
- Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Memorandum on Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During COVID-19 Pandemic
The first Executive Order extends the moratorium on residential evictions and foreclosures provided for by the now-expired Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Public Law 116-136).
The second Executive Order provides for deferring payroll taxes on wages and compensation from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. The deferral is applicable to employees whose pre-tax wages and compensation is less than $4,000 over a bi-weekly pay period. At this point the EO only provides for a deferral, not forgiveness, The EO instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to explore ways that the deferral may be turned into forgiveness of having to pay the payroll taxes.
The third Executive Order provides for restoring the formerly $600 per week federal addition to state unemployment insurance for the unemployed at the $400 level, with the federal government covering 75% of the $400 and the states covering 25%. Important to note that the underlying statute requires a 25% state match, so if a state refuses to come up with the 25% [$100] then the unemployed in that state will not receive the other 75% or $300. This extension expires on December 6, 2020, or when the several funds from which the monies to pay for this extension are taken declines to $25 billion, whichever is sooner.
The fourth Executive Order provides for the extension of deferring payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act provided this same student loan payment relief, but that program is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2020. The EO extends that deferral through December 31, 2020.