(NBC NEWS/LEX 18) — On Saturday, President Donald Trump signed four executive orders after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed.
The executive orders defer payroll taxes through the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000 a year.
They also defer student loan payments through the end of the year; continue eviction moratoriums; and extend enhanced unemployment benefits that expired last week, but at a reduced level of $400 instead of the prior $600.
"If I'm victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax," Trump said. "Joe Biden and the Democrats may not want that, they don't want that."
President Trump is up for re-election in November. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is in his own battle for re-election against Democrat Amy McGrath.
Senator McConnell issued a statement in support of the president's actions, while criticizing Democrat leaders in Washington for "sabotaging" negotiations with "absurd demands."
McGrath took to Twitter to criticize her Republican opponent's role in the breakdown of negotiations, calling McConnell "the worst Senate leader we've had."
In his statement, Sen. Mitch McConnell said the following:
“Struggling Americans need action now. Since Democrats have sabotaged backroom talks with absurd demands that would not help working people, I support President Trump exploring his options to get unemployment benefits and other relief to the people who need them the most.
“Before the jobless benefits expired, Senate Republicans tried several times to extend them while talks continued. But Leader Schumer declared that nobody could get help unless all of Democrats’ demands were met.
“Then the President’s team worked hard to bridge differences on many of the policies that would rapidly help American families — money to safely re-open schools, money for testing, more direct payments for households, another round of the PPP, legal protections, and more. But Democrats have continued to block all of it while holding out for non-COVID-related liberal demands like a huge tax cut for rich people in blue states and a massive slush fund for state and local governments that is many times the size of the actual coronavirus shortfall they are projected to face.
“Weeks ago, some predicted that Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer might actually prefer if the American people received no further bipartisan aid before the election. Sadly, they have done nothing to suggest otherwise.
“I am glad that President Trump is proving that while Democrats use laid-off workers as political pawns, Republicans will actually look out for them.”
When the executive orders were announced, McGrath directed her criticism toward McConnell. "When it comes to bailing out the American people in the middle of a pandemic, he [McConnell] doesn't work at all."
When it comes to tax cuts for the wealthy, he’ll work overtime. When it comes to bailing out the American people in the middle of a pandemic, he doesn’t work at all. Sending the Senate on recess, not negotiating, going home on weekends.— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) August 8, 2020
(2/2) In McConnell’s Senate, responsibility and power are just handed over so now the executive legislates and governs by executive order...exactly what the Founders didn’t intend. It’s dangerous to our democracy and why Mitch is the worst Senate leader we’ve had.— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) August 8, 2020