- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 8, 2020

Joseph R. Biden on Saturday assailed President Trump’s executive action to send coronavirus relief to Americans, calling it “half-baked measures” and a failure of leadership.

Mr. Biden, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, said Mr. Trump has “golfed rather than negotiated, and sown division rather than pull people together to get a package passed.”

“This is no art of the deal. This is not presidential leadership,” Mr. Biden said in a statement released by his campaign. “These orders are not real solutions. They are just another cynical ploy designed to deflect responsibility. Some measures do far more harm than good.”

Mr. Trump signed the executive orders earlier in the day to extend an extra $400 weekly unemployment benefits, grant a payroll tax holiday for workers making less than $100,000, defers student loan payments and forgives interest, and renews a moratorium on housing evictions.

The executive action, which is likely to encounter legal challenges, came as White House negotiations with Congress bogged down over Democrats’ demands for a $3.4 trillion bill.

When signing the order, Mr. Trump said the Democrats’ bill was backed by Mr. Biden and included measures such as banning voter ID and providing stimulus checks for illegal aliens, which he called “completely unrelated” to the pandemic.

Mr. Biden said all of the executive actions were either dangerous or insufficient.
He called the payroll tax holiday a “war on Social Security” because it would temporarily suspend paycheck deductions that fund the government retirement plan for seniors.

He said reducing the extra unemployment benefits from $600 to $400 per week would “brings cuts, chaos, and confusion to our system of unemployment insurance.”

He said extending the eviction moratorium was “woefully inadequate to deal with the emerging housing crisis.”

And he said the presidential order suspending interest on student loan debt was “a band-aid approach” because it leaves out 7 million borrows who didn’t get federal loans.

Mr. Biden, who served as vice president under Barack Obama, said a real leader would be brokering a deal on Capitol Hill.

“There is a solution to all of this pain and suffering. A real leader would go back to Washington, call together the leaders of the House and Senate, and negotiate a deal that delivers real relief to Americans who are struggling in this pandemic,” said Mr. Biden. “We need a president who understands their struggle and believes in their courage to overcome.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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