NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Month after month News4 has heard the cries from people, many of them filing for unemployment, while struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.
Over the weekend President Donald Trump signed four Executive Orders to provide Americans relief as the country still grips with COVID-19 and the economic crisis.
“We’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers,” the president said.
According to NBC News, one of the actions extends enhanced unemployment benefits that expired last week, but the amount of money people will receive will go down to $400 instead of $600.
Trump’s order also makes the federal government pay for 75% of the benefits. The president said he wants states to cover the remaining 25%, something that might be difficult for states already facing budget issues this year.
President Donald Trump has been pushing for a payroll tax cut, and he isn't waiting for Congress to enact one. On Saturday, he signed a series of executive orders, effectively going around Congress to extend expanded unemployment benefits and assist renters and homeowners.
The President’s move comes with criticism from House Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed concern that states already in a financial pinch may not be able to afford the President’s new action.
“What he’s doing is undermining social security and Medicare. These are illusions,” said Pelosi.
News4 reached out to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for thoughts on the president’s actions and how it will impact Tennesseans.
“The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is evaluating President Trump’s Executive Order involving unemployment benefits. The Department is also awaiting guidance from the United States Department of Labor concerning the rules and conditions of implementation of the program outlined in the Executive Order. The Department will actively seek clarity and direction and provide updates as they occur,” the agency said in a statement.
News4 also reached out to Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, and Rep. Jim Cooper, D-TN, for comment.
“In walking away from negotiating with the president, Speaker Pelosi chose to deny targeted legal protections for schools, healthcare providers, and small businesses; deny schools additional resources so children can get back in their classrooms; and deny further assistance for COVID-19 testing,” Blackburn said in a statement. “Many Tennesseans are grateful President Trump is doing everything he can to provide tax relief for workers and aid for those in need. It is shameful that congressional Democrats have decided November politics are more important than providing assistance to Americans in need.”
Cooper provided this statement to News4
“The president has been largely invisible in negotiations, except on Twitter, and is subverting the Constitution by calling his selfish executive orders ‘bills,’ as if they were legislation. Forcing states to start covering part of the $400 UI benefit is irresponsible. Many states are drowning in red ink and others like Tennessee probably won’t participate because they have to pick up part of the tab. It really shows how little President Trump is interested in helping people. Middle Tennessee families need relief, we know the $600/week benefit is working, and the federal government should continue paying for it for as long as people need help.”