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Trump signs executive orders over COVID-19 stimulus

US President Donald Trump has signed four executive orders Saturday (local time), one of which will provide US$400 ($558) in enhanced unemployment benefits — 25 per cent of which states are expected to cover — after Democrats and the White House were unable to reach an agreement on a coronavirus stimulus relief bill this week.

The other three orders he signed include a payroll tax holiday for Americans earning less than US$100,000 a year, as well as extending an eviction moratorium and deferring student loan payments.

"I'm taking action to provide an additional or extra $400 a week and expanded benefits, $400," Mr Trump said at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

"That's generous but we want to take care of our people."

Mr Trump said the federal government will pay 75 per cent of that, but he did not outline where the would be coming from.

But when asked about the President's executive order asking states to pay 25 per cent of the $400 unemployment relief, an official from a northeastern state run by a Democratic governor laughed.

"We don't have that money," the official said.

This official went on to say that they were not given any heads up on this executive order and that in the wake of the pandemic, their funds are completely tapped.

When asked by a reporter why $400 instead of the previous $600, Mr Trump responded, "This is the money they need, this is the money they want, this gives them a great incentive to go back to work".

He went on to say, "there was a difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive".

Democrats are likely to challenge the executive actions in court. Mr Trump first laid out the executive orders at a hastily called news conference on Friday at his New Jersey golf club, where he said he wasn't concerned about the legality of the actions he promised.

Mr Trump also said Saturday his administration was looking at additional income tax and capital gains tax cuts for American taxpayers, besides the payroll tax holiday being instituted by executive order.

"We are going to be looking at capital gains for the purpose of creating jobs and income taxes is self-explanatory, and it will be income tax for middle income and lower income people but middle income people who pay a lot of income tax, you have tax inequality," Mr Trump said.

"I'm saying that as a Republican, and you do have tax inequality."

He did not provide further details.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-usa-news-trump-signs-executive-orders-after-stimulus-talks-break-down/3b840cee-9b7a-4bdc-8e53-ac0ca8b4c32c

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