2020-54: President signs COVID-19 relief orders - Spidell

2020-54: President signs COVID-19 relief orders

On Saturday, August 8, the President signed four executive actions providing additional COVID-19 relief. However, questions have been raised about whether the President has the authority to take all the actions listed below. We will keep you posted as this issue develops.

The three memorandums and one executive order signed by the President do the following:

  • Direct the Secretary of the Treasury to use his authority to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of the employee’s portion of Social Security taxes paid from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. The deferral will be available to any employee whose wages are generally less than $104,000 per year;
  • Authorize an additional $44 billion from the Department of Homeland Security’s Disaster Relief Fund to assist states to continue to pay expanded unemployment benefits of up to $400 per week, with the federal government paying $300 and states paying up to $100. States are called upon to use amounts allocated to them out of the Coronavirus Relief fund to pay their $100 share of the expanded unemployment benefits. Each state will manage this individually, so at this time it is unclear how each state will handle it;
  • Provide for the continued temporary cessation of student loan payments and a waiver of all interest on student loans held by the Department of Education until December 31, 2020; and
  • Direct various administrative agencies to take all lawful measures to prevent residential evictions and foreclosures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The order does not contain any specifics for these directives.

The text of the memorandums and order can be found at:


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