‘Unworkable, weak’ Trump economic orders do more harm than good: Schumer

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Schumer walks to Pelosi’s office for coronavirus relief negotiations with Mnuchin and Meadows at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) walks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office for coronavirus relief negotiations with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer didn’t mince words with regards to President Trump’s economic executive orders: He thinks they’re “unworkable” and “weak,” and will cause even more economic pain for New York.

While questioning the Constitutionality of Trump’s executive orders on budgetary issues such as extending unemployment insurance and freezing payroll tax collection, Schumer said that Trump’s orders completely ignored the financial plight of states and local governments devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, New York’s senior senator pointed out that the president did not provide any compensation for expanded COVID-19 testing and treatment, or for schools preparing to reopen. Trump’s orders also did not provide funding for completion of the Census; ensuring safe elections in November; operating the post offices; or expanding food assistance for families in need.

“Yesterday’s executive orders can be summed up in three words: unworkable, weak and narrow,” said Schumer. “That is why I am calling on President Trump and the GOP to meet Democrats in the middle — like we have done in the prior bills — and come up with an agreement that will actually help us get through this crisis.”

Schumer further charged that the payroll tax freeze Trump ordered also endangers the long-term viability of Social Security. 

“The president did not ‘cancel’ payroll taxes and this will actually hurt businesses, workers and end up weakening Social Security and Medicare because most employers will continue to withhold the payroll tax so they and their employees won’t be hit with a huge tax bill in December when it expires,” Schumer added. “I warn seniors and people who have paid into Social Security and Medicare – watch out! What is being sold here would deplete the trust funds and destroy Social Security and Medicare as we know it.” 

Trump’s unemployment benefit order would enhance payments by $400 a week, but that’s less than the $600 enhancement approved under the CARES Act, which expired on July 31. The reduced unemployment benefits negatively impact more than 1.8 million New Yorkers, the senator noted.

The lack of state and local government funding aid will put more than 20,000 government jobs in New York City at risk, Schumer said.