Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden weighed in against President Donald Trump’s executive order, unilaterally extending coronavirus relief measures, on Sunday, zeroing in on the president’s decision to suspend the payroll tax, and calling it a “war” on social security.
Trump issued four separate EOs on Saturday, three of which extended a measure of the CARES Act – continuing supplemental federal unemployment benefits and drawing out protections for renters and student loan borrowers – and one of which suspends the employer-side contributions to the payroll tax from July 1st through the end of 2020.
Democrats are laser-focused on the latter EO rather than on the former in an effort to distract from stalled negotiations on a coronavirus relief package, calling the president’s actions an attack on the social security subsidy and, as The Daily Wire reported Saturday, threatening legal action.
Biden joined the chorus of detractors late Saturday, claiming that the president’s effort is just the first step in a wholesale elimination of Social Security.
“He is laying out his roadmap to cutting Social Security,” Biden said. “Our seniors and millions of Americans with disabilities are under enough stress without Trump putting their hard-earned Social Security benefits in doubt.”
Biden’s statement, emailed to media, claimed that Trump is looking to “undermine the entire financial footing of Social Security.”
Biden, of course, has his own Social Security proposal, The Hill reports, taking advantage of an issue largely of concern to older voters. “Employees and employers each pay Social Security payroll taxes of 6.2 percent of wages and Medicare payroll taxes of 1.45 percent of wages. One of Biden’s tax proposals would increase the payroll tax rate for people making over $400,000.”
President Donald Trump made clear in his press conference on Saturday that his executive orders were designed to help protect workers suffering from coronavirus-related economic troubles while Congress debates a fourth coronavirus relief package.
Republicans, last week, proposed a $1 trillion plan that extends the supplemental unemployment benefit, but at $200 per week, while expanding other economic stimulus programs. Democrats proposed their own legislation back in May: a $3 trillion bill that extends many of the CARES Act provisions but also provides a bailout to the United States Postal Service and to states that are suffering from budget deficits (though the measure does not specify that states can only be bailed out for those shortfalls incurred as a result of the coronavirus).
Trump pointed out a number of Democrats’ demands in his interaction with reporters, drawing attention to elements of the bill that eliminate voter ID requirements and extend unemployment benefits to illegal immigrant workers.
He also said that he is prepared to defend his executive orders in court, and his lawyers are likely to point to a provision, added to the Federal Code in the late 1990s, that ostensibly allows the president to unilaterally move tax liability deadlines in the event of an emergency that impacts the federal government.
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