U.S. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama has released the following statement on the news that President Donald Trump has signed a series of executive orders in lieu of continuing to pursue a bipartisan legislative COVID relief package:
“While the President is attempting to give the appearance that he is leading the cavalry coming to the rescue of the American people, these executive orders are anything but that. The executive order to extend the now-lapsed emergency unemployment assistance will cut benefits by $200 a week or more for Alabamians and asks states, whose budgets have already been burdened by the pandemic, to footpart of the bill. The payroll tax collection moratorium is a way for President Trump to follow through with his promise to defund Medicare and privatize social security by putting the solvency of these programs at risk while still leaving open the possibility that those taxes may need to be paid in a lump sum next year.
“By signing these executive orders that are more for show than actual help for the American people, President Trump has confirmed that his Administration has not acted in good faith and had no intention of reaching bipartisan agreement on legislation that would benefit all Americans. The Senate, which absolutely should not have recessed without passing a relief package, needs to immediately return to Washington to pass legislation that provides adequate support for the Americans who are suffering as a result of this virus as well as our economy. We need to come to a bipartisan compromise that deals with the full slate of urgent issues facing our country: we need a national strategy for COVID testing and contact tracing, to extend federal eviction moratoriums, to provide much-needed funding for state and local governments, and to ensure schools have the resources they need to reopen safely – among so many other needs.
“It’s completely inexcusable that Mitch McConnell waited over two months after the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act to begin negotiations on this relief package, knowing full well that many of the programs that Americans have relied on during this crisis would expire at the end of July. The failure to negotiate an adequate bipartisan deal speaks to a broader breakdown in leadership in Washington, and I strongly urge my colleagues to put partisanship aside to come together to pass a relief bill as soon as possible. Lives and livelihoods are at stake, and each day we spend arguing over politics is another day that our institution fails the American people.”