US President Donald Trump on Saturday signed executive orders extending economic help to Americans hit by the coronavirus crisis after his Republican party and opposition Democrats failed to agree on a new stimulus package.
During a press conference, Trump said, “We’ve had it and we’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers”.
With double digit unemployment, massive disruption to businesses from social distancing rules, and stubbornly high rates of coronavirus infection, many Americans have been relying on relief measures approved earlier by Congress, but which mostly expired in July.
The US leader said his decision to circumvent Congress with executive orders would mean relief money getting “rapidly distributed.”
Trump, speaking in the ballroom of his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club with an audience of club members cheering him and laughing at his colorful insults against opponents, said he was also working on new tax cut ideas.
However, his executive orders are likely to face court challenges, since they short-circuit Congress, which has constitutional power over most spending decisions.
Democrats pushed for a massive new $3 trillion stimulus package aimed at propping up the economy, repairing the tattered postal system in time for the presidential election, and giving the unemployed an extra $600 a week.
Later, Democrats also announced that they could drop the price tag but refused the Republicans’ offer of a $1 trillion package.
Earlier this week, Trump said the coronavirus outbreak is as under control as it can get in the United States, where more than 155,000 people have died amid a patchy response to the public health crisis that has failed to stem a rise in cases.
On tackling the virus, Trump earlier had said his administration is developing a powerful strategy.
In a clear departure from his combative “the virus will disappear” stance since the pandemic began raging in the US, Trump also warned youngsters against crowding bars and indoor spaces and cast mask wearing as an act of patriotism.
Trump faces broad criticism over his handling of the health and economic responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
(With inputs from agency)