On Sunday, top Democrats criticized President Donald Trump’s executive actions on COVID-19 relief, calling them “absurdly unconstitutional” and “way off base.”
Trump said the government will be funding most of the benefits with disaster relief money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Plus, he called on states, many of which have already been suffering from budget shortfalls due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, to cover a quarter of the cost.
In recent interviews with Fox News and CNN, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., lambasted Trump’s move, calling his actions “unconstitutional slop.”
She said on Fox News Sunday, “While he says he’s going to do the payroll tax, what he’s doing is undermining Social Security and Medicare, so these are illusions.”
Medicare and Social Security are funded through payroll taxes, which Trump also vowed to slash permanently if he is re-elected.
Pelosi told CNN the measures are “absurdly unconstitutional” but she did not say whether Democrats would be mounting any legal challenge as previously indicated.
“Something’s wrong,” she added. “Either the president doesn’t know what he’s talking about … or something’s very wrong here about meeting the needs of the American people at this time.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer told ABC News, “The president’s executive orders, described in one word, could be paltry, in three words, unworkable, weak, and far too narrow,” adding that they are “a big show, but it doesn’t do anything.”
He also said the payroll tax cut was “way off base.”
Schumer added, “Employers are just going to continue to withhold the money — I’ve talked to some — because they don’t want their employees to be stuck with a huge bill in December. So it’s not going to pump money into the economy.”
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called Trump’s actions “a stunt” that would hurt Americans.
She told MSNBC, “It’s a stunt, there’s no doubt about it. It’s most likely … unconstitutional, bypassing Congress to spend money that he has no authority to direct.” Criticizing the effect of a payroll tax cut on Social Security and Medicare, Clinton said, “It’s going to hurt not just elderly Americans but every American.”