President Seeks to Address COVID-19 Crisis with Executive Order and Memoranda

In response to Congress’ inability to agree upon a new coronavirus aid package, on August 8th President Trump issued one executive order and three memoranda seeking to provide some relief. In a recent article published by Restaurant Hospitality, author Joanna Fantozzi offers an overview of what the items contain and what their impacts might be.

  1. Memorandum extending supplemental unemployment benefits – This memorandum directs an extension of the federal supplement to unemployment benefits that was established by the CARES Act. Weekly benefits are reduced from $600 to $400 and the federal government is responsible for covering 75% while states are responsible for covering 25%. It is unclear both whether the President has the authority to perform this action via an executive order and whether states can afford to cover their portion of the weekly supplemental benefits.
  2. Memorandum deferring payroll taxes – This memorandum calls for a payroll tax holiday for Americans who earn less than $104,000 annually lasting from September 1 through the end of 2020. It also directs the Secretary of the Treasury to seek paths for eliminating the need for the repayment of these taxes once the holiday period ends. It is unclear whether the President’s desire for an eventual elimination—rather than simply a deferral—of these taxes is feasible without legislation.
  3. Executive order regarding eviction moratoriums – This executive order directs the extension of the CARES Act eviction moratorium that expires on August 31, 2020.
  4. Memorandum on student loan relief – This memorandum calls for an extension of the student loan relief program that was included as a part of the CARES Act. The CARES Act program is set to expire on September 30, 2020; the memorandum does not include an expiration date but rather extends the program until the crisis subsides.

For further details, click here to read the article in full at Restaurant Hospitality.