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President Trump Takes Action to Provide Financial Relief to Americans Impacted by COVID

President Trump released 3 memorandums and one Executive Order aimed at providing financial relief to U.S. workers and their families.

On Saturday, 8 August, President Trump released 3 memorandums and one Executive Order aimed at providing financial relief to U.S. workers and their families. While Congress has yet to work out the details of another stimulus package, these four actions from President Trump aim to go beyond Congress to provide resources to those impacted by COVID-19

Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners

The Executive Order directs the Treasury Secretary and the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary to allocate available federal funding towards providing temporary assistance to renters and homeowners. HUD must also ensure that renters and homeowners are not forcibly evicted during the pandemic and investigate measures that provide relief from mortgage default. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must temporarily halt evictions for anyone who has failed to pay rent due to COVID-19.

Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster

The memorandum on deferring payroll tax obligations extends the deferral of payment towards payroll taxes through the end of the year. This deferral, which was initially provided for in the CARES Act enacted into law on 27 March, is a short-term relief available to those employees making $4,000 in a biweekly pay period or less, equivalent to $104,000 in an annual salary. The memorandum also directs the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer payment from 1 September to 31 December.

Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019

The memorandum on needs assistance impacts workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. It dedicates additional federal funding towards unemployment benefits in the form of $400 a week through December, or until the Disaster Relief Fund reduces to $25 billion. The memorandum calls on states to also use their existing funds, such as those provided through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Memorandum on Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The memorandum on continued student loan payment relief aims to further reduce the financial burden on student loan borrowers. Borrowers had already been granted a suspension on loan payments with 0% interest, which Congress planned to continue through 30 September. The memorandum extends the policy through the end of the year.

These actions by President Trump may be controversial as Congress holds the authority to approve financial measures aimed at supporting U.S. workers and their families. While Congress has yet to reach an agreement on another stimulus package, Trump’s actions could result in legal challenges.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The relief provided in these four major actions by President Trump would assist transferees, mobile employees, and families impacted by the Coronavirus. In particular, the extension of deferment of employer and employee paid payroll tax will positively impact businesses and their workers facing financial burdens in the short-term, while an extension of needs assistance will support unemployed workers as they try to reenter the workforce. Families facing mortgage or rental hardships and those with student loans would also benefit greatly.

Worldwide ERC® will keep you up to date on any breaking news if there is progress towards a Congressional agreement. However, given the state of negotiations it is possible that discussions on a Congressional agreement on the stimulus could continue into September if no agreement is reached this week.

Should any member have questions regarding these actions, please reach out to Vice President, Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, rpeters@worldwideerc.org.

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