Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said the possibility of Democrats bringing lawsuits that could stop President Donald Trump’s executive orders on coronavirus relief presents a “moral dilemma.”
As Republican and Democratic lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on a fourth coronavirus stimulus package last week, Trump signed a series of four executive orders Saturday to provide relief in the form of a payroll tax cut holiday through the end of the year, a prohibition on evictions, $400 per week for unemployed workers, and student loan relief.
Referring to the “legal questions” surrounding Trump’s “authority to do these things” during a “Meet the Press” interview on Sunday, NBC anchor Chuck Todd asked Durbin if he thinks “Congress ought to file suit.”
“This is a moral dilemma,” Durbin responded. “We want unemployed people to receive benefits. We never wanted them cut off at all. So I’m not going to suggest that we run out to court at this point. I think some will. There will be some challenges.”
“This country club fix suggested by the president is going to be a cut in the unemployment benefits for 30 million Americans,” Durbin contended. “It’s either going to be cut from $600 to $400 or from $600 to zero where it is right now if the president’s executive orders don’t stand.”
While many employers have blamed the extra federal unemployment funds at least in part for their difficulty hiring people back for lower-skilled jobs, Durbin contended that workers are “desperate to go back to work.”
“70 percent of the people who have gone back to work have taken a cut to wages below the unemployment benefits and they want back in the job and they understand unemployment is a temporary helping hand,” he said. “So this notion that they’re lazy and if they tried harder they’d find jobs just doesn’t work.” (RELATED: Chris Wallace: Trump, GOP Could Be Putting Democrats In ‘Difficult Political Position’ On Coronavirus Relief Funds)
“We have five unemployed Americans for every available job,” said the Illinois Democrat. “This urban legend which I say is an urban lie about people sitting at home binging on Netflix and eating chocolate-covered cherries.”