Senator Sasse Blasts Trump's Executive Orders as "Unconstitutional Slop"

Mish

Senator Ben Sasse broke ranks today and was the first Republican to criticize the president's executive orders on Covid.

The Feud Begins

Yesterday, Trump Signed 4 Executive Orders, One Requires States Pay 25% of the Cost.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Trump. 

“Struggling Americans need action now. Since Democrats have sabotaged backroom talks with absurd demands that would not help working people, I support President Trump exploring his options to get unemployment benefits and other relief to the people who need them the most,” said McConnell.

Unconstitutional Slop

The ink is barely dry but the feuding has begun.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a pickle after a Sasse attacks Trump’s executive orders as ‘Unconstitutional Slop’.

A member of both the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), put out a statement blasting the move.

“The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop,” Sasse charged.

“President Obama did not have the power to unilaterally rewrite immigration law with DACA, and President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law. Under the Constitution, that power belongs to the American people acting through their members of Congress,” he continued.

Executive Order Comment

Diane Swonk is Chief Economist at Grant Thornton. She advises the Federal Reserve.

Legally Feasible?

The wording is not clear. What happens if the states do not put up anything? Do the states get nothing or $300, assuming the action is implemented as signed.

What About Evictions?

Trump bragged about evictions but his executive action is a "do what you can" fluff mandate. 

What Will Democrats Do?

ZeroHedge comments Furious Democrats Faced With A Daunting Question: Will They Dare To Challenge Trump's Stimulus Orders

Bloomberg comments Trump’s Pandemic Relief Orders Likely to Face Legal Challenges.

One question is, who will sue? While they have criticized the orders as insufficient and impractical, congressional Democrats may view it as politically risky to block payments to Americans in distress.

“It puts the administration in a different position than what they’ve been used to,” said Keith Whittington, an expert on politics and law at Princeton. “It’s smart politics.”

But states that planned to use pandemic relief funds for purposes other than unemployment payments might refuse to comply with Trump’s directive, potentially setting up a legal battle. The president seemed to acknowledge that possibility when he announced the orders on Saturday.

“I guess maybe they’ll bring legal actions. But they won’t win,” he told reporters. “I think this will go very rapidly through the courts.”

Landlords are among the potential litigants. One of the orders Trump issued appears to give federal housing officials broad discretion to prevent evictions.

“Every legal aid lawyer in the country faced with a destitute client being evicted will slap this executive order on the judge’s table and say there should not be any eviction,” said Charles Tiefer, a law professor at the University of Baltimore. “And their landlords who have federally insured mortgages will argue back that it would be illegal for evictions to be halted.”

“The argument behind the payroll tax seems very aggressive,” said Whittington. “The breadth of the order clearly exceeds what Congress anticipated in giving the Treasury some discretion to delay tax deadlines in disaster areas.”

Attack on Social Security

The Hill reports Biden says Trump executive order is 'a reckless war on Social Security'

One of the several orders Trump signed from his private club in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday afternoon directs the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer payment of employee-side Social Security payroll taxes through the end of the year for Americans making less than roughly $100,000 annually. Trump also said that he intends to forgive the deferred payroll taxes and make permanent payroll tax cuts if he is reelected in November.

In an emailed statement addressing the president's order, Biden said that such a move would “undermine the entire financial footing of Social Security.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee said that unlike the 2012 payroll tax plan put forth by the Obama administration, Trump’s executive order does not appear to include “protections or guarantees that the Social Security Trust Fund will be made whole.”

“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.”

Lawsuits Will Fly

Lawsuits are all but certain. 

A Republican governor or two may even join in. And if there are lawsuits, Trump will likely lose. 

Curiously, perhaps Trump even wants to lose. Whether it would help is debatable, but he is in such a deep hole politically, he may view this as his best shot.

Mish

Comments (67)
No. 1-22
Sechel
Sechel

Trump deferred collection. He did not suspend it. And since many companies lack guidance they will probably choose to collect and pay it anyway for fear of being on the hook for it later. The payroll deferral additionally does nothing for those out if work. It's like taking cough syrup for athletes foot. And agree likely to face legal challenges. Seems like Trump knows that but wanted to engage in Kabuki theater on a mocked up stage in Bedminster designed to look like an official Whitehouse setting. It was an exercise in make believe.
The power of the purse rests with Congress, not the President and even if Trump has never read the constitution those advising him have and are presumed to have

CautiousObserver
CautiousObserver

I figure this is mostly a political move to stop the Democrats from claiming that Republicans are the ones preventing the most recent stimulus bill from being approved and that Republicans do not care about getting relief to the unemployed as much as Democrats do. In that respect it might work, even if it is otherwise not effective.

Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple

Steve Schmidt can sue. That way Republicans are doing the suing.

Whatevs. More flatulence from the fuckwad.

ajc1970
ajc1970

This is just part of a game.

He knows these would fail in court, but he knows that by the time the legal cases play out, the orders will be moot because Congress will have presented him with a bill he can sign.

tokidoki
tokidoki

Lawyers will have a field day.

Sechel
Sechel

From an economic standpoint this feels like bad policy. If someone told you you could delay a debt you would not spend the money but sit on the funds. Highly questionable what if anything is achieved by this action

channelstuffing
channelstuffing

Stimulus checks is way cheaper than the NG on every street corner,and even with the boom in prison construction,it won't be close to meeting the soaring demand.Dawn to dusk nation wide curfew,IED's,roving technicals,road blocks,mass looting...coming to neighborhood near you!

numike
numike

When do I get my stimulus check??

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

I have not read one comment about the most painful scenario for the average worker. The business retains the tax money, hands it out to executives, files for bankruptcy then walks away. The employee is now left with a huge tax bill and no legal recourse.

Bonus points for using tax money to buy stonks. Heads, company wins, tails you lose.

And if you dont think it can happen there are already plenty of examples of companies raiding 401k plans....

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

Cut to the chase with this farce.

Do a 2 hour reality show with Judge Judy. Let both sides blast away and have viewers vote as jury.

Kim Kardashian as host?

njbr
njbr

Funding UI from FEMA money in what is projected to be a record hurricane season?

Whatever could go wrong?

...States can’t use their current unemployment insurance infrastructure to pay a benefit that isn’t authorized by Congress, says Evermore. The language in the memorandum says that these benefits must be paid “in conjunction with the state's unemployment insurance system,” which means that states will have to set up a new way to add these payments to existing benefits, she added....

....More than 25 million people had received the $600 weekly bonus. With the enhanced unemployment aid capped at $44 billion from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, estimates that the additional aid will last just over a month, or about $10 billion per week, if the same number of people receive the bonus and if every state participates.

“It's a difficult proposition for states to implement in a short period of time," says Stettner. "States had already struggled to get unemployment money in the hands of out-of-work Americans. This will disappoint workers. They think they’ll get that $400 next week, but they’re not.”

anoop
anoop

What is your best take on where we are headed in the 6 months economically and politically? I just have no idea what is going on, but I think everything gets worse in the next 6 months and I have zero visibility beyond that.

BLUEWIN
BLUEWIN

Check mate Trump . . . as usual America is nothing but a legal quagmire . . .

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

I truly believe tRump is playing 6D chess: head I win, and tail you lose! All while I'm playing with your money! haha!

ksdude69
ksdude69

Only "approved" unconstitutional slop is allowed.

Anna 7
Anna 7

I was trying to find a jimmy dore video where he plays a clip of Biden telling a small audience that he thinks the only way to balance the budget is to cut social security. Unfortunately, google isn’t yielding the result I’m searching for.

So, in the meantime, maybe enjoy some comic relief:

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

It appears that only 1/4 is an executive order.
The 3/4 appear to be "memoranda" according to the White House.

Dodge Demon
Dodge Demon

Diane has been a financial hack in Chicago for decades, but her swonkarewskis keep her paychecks coming regularly.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Biden is now ahead in that carved up part of NE with an electoral vote.

nlightn
nlightn

I can't wait till SDNY takes this piece of human garbage and ALL of his family, Bill Bark, Munchin Man, Punk Pompeyo, all of the swamp this Orange Hair Duffus brought in.

Totally ruined this country. And for what ? His imbecilic dream to become Hitler...or Putin or Jung.

This is a very sick immature individual.

Mary Trump was/is right on target.

Michael Cohen's book will nail this guy.

Ghislaine will give him up.

Herkie
Herkie

"One question is, who will sue? While they have criticized the orders as insufficient and impractical, congressional Democrats may view it as politically risky to block payments to Americans in distress."

They will have no choice, Trump already stole $2.5 billion from the DoD in the 2018 budget and transfered it to DHS for wall construction and plans another grab of $7.2 billion for his wall. There were several suits already over that and the 5th circuit in NOLA held that construction could continue, as they saw it the amounts shifted and uses they were put to were within the scope of defense, so they ruled it was okay. But, the 9th circuit in San Francisco ruled that it amounted to an unlawful drawing of funds from the treasury without congressional appropriations.

Because this was a split between two circuits it will automatically go to the SCOTUS to be settled. Had it just remained an issue about the smaller original amounts that were taken from defense for a "defensive wall" no matter that that would do little to defend the nation, they might have ruled the use permissable within the scope of presidential powers, particularly since Trump has declared an emergency at the southern border. That declaration is questionable but the issue before the courts will be his authority to shift funds from one appropriated use to another. And on that score he will lose since the constitution is very clear about the right of the US House to be the sole authority to decide what funding is appropiated for what uses. The scope of the $400 per person per week PUA payments is way WAY beyond what the courts will permit. They may have been able to work out a way the wall issue could have been allowed, but there is no way to allow him to grab hundreds of billions for application as he sees fit. It would end checks and balances and that would include the seperation of powers, where the court's own authority derives. One thing the court will not permit is a royal president above the law because they know they would have no power over him.

This could even be heard prior to the election. But not before voting begins in September I think.

Even if it is heard and ruled against you know certainly that Trump will lie and spin it as a suit by democrats to end aid to those who are desparate. And they are, CNBC this morning has a new survey out that says 91% of Americans fear they will not be able to pay the minimum payments on their credit cards.

It is difficult to believe people are too stupid to understand what Trump has done, but I see even here among our financially and economically sophisticated readers there is misunderstanding. So expecting the wider population with an attention span of nill and financial training even less, it is absurd to think they will reach the same conclusions as experts.

Still, constitutional or UNconstitutional what Trump did was to seize powers the constitution reserves to the legislative branch and that is a coup by any definition of the word, it was how Hugo Chavez became undisputed ruler of Venezuela when he was alive. He did not take over government by marching soldiers and tanks through the street. Most coups are the assumption of authority not the shooting of resistors. For the democrats to simply stand aside and allow it would be to give up any power they have under the costitution, there would be no point in appropriations or any other laws passed if Trump can simply take what he likes and ignore the law. This would also apply to presidential succession when he loses in November, so watch for a rigged election and a refusal to depart in January. Our military may have no choice but to force him out. And for my own part I would rather a military take over than allow Trump one more day in office.