House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed her displeasure with President Donald Trump’s executive actions Saturday to help struggling Americans amid the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus.
After lawmakers failed to negotiate another round of stimulus legislation by Friday, Trump vowed to take what action he could.
On Saturday, Trump signed four executive orders in which he bypassed Congress addressing the issues of unemployment assistance, an eviction moratorium, the deferment of payroll taxes and student loan relief.
“Through these four actions, my administration will provide immediate and vital relief to Americans struggling in this difficult time. And the beautiful thing about this difficult time is we’re now coming back and setting records,” he said from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to a White House transcript.
Trump excoriated Democrats for refusing to budge with regard to offering assistance to American workers.
“My administration has been working around the clock in good faith to reach an agreement with Democrats on additional China virus relief,” he said.
But he’s getting little help from the other side, he said later.
“Congressional Democrats have stonewalled our efforts to extend this relief. They even oppose measures that would give bonuses to workers returning to the job. They were totally opposed to that,” Trump said.
On Sunday, Pelosi fired back.
Joining CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” the California Democrat described Trump’s executive orders as “absurdly unconstitutional.”
Pelosi signaled that she and her fellow Democrats intend to challenge the president’s orders in court, after Bash asked about the potential for legal action.
“Well, the fact is, is that whether [the executive orders] are legal or not takes time to figure out,” she said.
She then cited Nebraska’s Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who criticized Trump’s actions in a statement Saturday, according to MarketWatch.
“I associate my … remarks with Senator Sasse, who says they’re ‘unconstitutional slop,’” Pelosi said.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) August 9, 2020
Sasse indeed criticized Trump’s executive action Saturday in a statement, likening Trump’s orders on economic relief to former President Barack Obama’s executive action establishing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.
“The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop. President Obama did not have the power to unilaterally rewrite immigration law with DACA, and President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law,” Sasse said in the statement.
“Under the Constitution, that power belongs to the American people acting through their members of Congress,” Sasse added.
“Right now we want to address the needs of the American people,” Pelosi told CNN.
Trump’s executive orders, she said, aren’t the way to do it.
“As my constitutional advisers tell me, they’re absurdly unconstitutional,” she said.
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