President Trump said at a news conference Wednesday he’s exploring executive action to prevent evictions and provide “additional relief” for Americans unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He also said he’s considering “a term-limited suspension of the payroll tax.”
“My administration is exploring executive actions to provide protections against eviction,” he said. “Eviction is a big problem — very unfair to a lot of people. It wasn’t their fault that this virus came from a far away land.”
“As well as additional relief to those who are unemployed as a result of the virus, very importantly I’m also looking at a term limited suspension of the payroll tax,” the president continued. “Something that has great support from many many side especially some of our top economists and some people that we have great respect for.”
What he says he will not do is “a bailout of poorly run states,” which he says Democrats favor.
Though the White House, Republican and Democratic leaders have been negotiating about legislation for the next relief bill, they remain far from a deal after expanded unemployment benefits expired for millions of Americans last week. The Senate, which is supposed to be in recess next week, might be in session until a deal on a package is reached.
“I think we ought to stay until we get a deal,” Republican Senator Rick Scott, of Florida, told reporters Tuesday before the GOP conference lunch. Utah Senator Mitt Romney said negotiators “need to be working around the clock to get it done.”
After the GOP convention was scaled back dramatically due to the virus, Mr. Trump is entertaining the possibility of giving his acceptance speech from the White House. He says it’s perfectly legal.
“Well it is legal,” Mr. Trump said. “There is no Hatch Act because it doesn’t pertain to the president. But if I use the White House, we save tremendous amounts of money for the government in terms of security, traveling. If we go to another state, some other location, the amount of money is very enormous, so that’s something to consider also.”
The president has also been sending conflicting messages about voting by mail in recent days. He insists voting by mail isn’t safe in states, like Nevada, which has Democratic leadership and is sending ballots to all registered voters. The Trump campaign is suing the state over its plan to send ballots to all voters.
But he feels differently about Florida. On Tuesday, he tweeted, “whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure,” after spending months railing against voting by mail.
He said that “Florida has worked very hard for years and years” at developing its mail-in ballot system, adding, “absentee ballots are different than mail-in ballots, what you call universal mail-in ballots, much different. You have to apply for it, you have to do different things.” He said Florida’s system “can be reasonably accurate, but there’s no system like going to the poll and voting.”
Mr. Trump has voted absentee in Florida in the past. Earlier Wednesday, during a meeting with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, the president also gave the state his stamp of approval for voting by mail, saying officials there “have done a good job.”
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