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Trump’s executive actions slammed as handiwork of a ‘corrupt, incompetent’ president

By AFSCME Staff ·

Instead of working with Congress on legislation to benefit millions of people desperate for help, President Donald Trump instead decided over the weekend to take likely unconstitutional executive actions that won’t alleviate widespread suffering amid this ongoing public health and economic crisis.

“If a corrupt, incompetent president is going to break the law by executive order, the least he could do is provide unemployed Americans the same $600 they were receiving rather than slash their benefits. American families should take the money to put food on the table and make a plan to vote Donald Trump out of office,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a blistering statement Saturday.

Saunders was referring to one of Trump’s actions that is supposed to provide $400 weekly unemployment supplements to millions of Americans out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s supposed to replace the $600-a-week supplements that expired at the end of July despite congressional Democrats pushing for that level of support to continue.

Trump’s actions are of dubious legal and real-world value, critics say, and will do very little to help people who want substantive relief. In addition to causing mass confusion, his actions do nothing to address the lack of state and local aid from Washington.

Through the Fund the Front Lines campaign, AFSCME members have long pushed for at least $1 trillion in federal aid to states, cities, towns and school districts that are struggling due to plummeting tax revenues. Our union demands Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to return to the drawing board and come up with a plan to provide this vitally needed state and local aid to save public services and public service jobs.

As Saunders noted, what working people need is for the Senate to return to work and pass the House-approved Heroes Act, which includes $1 trillion in state and local aid.

“The nation has lost nearly 13 million jobs since February, 1.2 million of them in the public sector alone. In the meantime, GDP declined at an annual rate close to 33% in the second quarter, and we just had our 20th week in a row with more than 1 million new unemployment claims,” Saunders said.

“But the U.S. Senate continues to do nothing, and the Trump White House continues to ignore the severity of the pandemic and the economic devastation,” he added. “Every day that they fail to act is another day that working families continue to suffer and another day the economy remains mired in recession.”

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