Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday” that Democrats will have “a lot of explaining to do” if they bring a lawsuit to stop President Donald Trump’s executive orders on coronavirus relief.
After lawmakers on both sides of the aisle failed to reach a deal on a fourth coronavirus stimulus package, Trump responded by signing four executive orders Saturday. These included a payroll tax cut holiday through the end of the year, a prohibition on evictions, student loan relief, and $400 per week for unemployed workers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse in calling Trump’s orders “unconstitutional slop” and has suggested Democrats could sue to stop them. (RELATED: ‘Unconstitutional Slop’: Pelosi Blasts Trump Executive Orders On Coronavirus Relief)
“What makes you think that spending over $100 billion that Congress has not appropriated for these specific purposes is legal, and what happens if there’s a court suit and all of the actions that the president took yesterday are blocked by a federal court?” asked Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
“Let me just say we’ve cleared with the office of legal counsel all these actions before they went to the president,” Mnuchin said. “The president knew unemployment insurance was ending. He said, ‘let’s continue with $400.’ By the way, the 25% from the states, they can either take that out of the money we’ve already given them for the president can waive that. We’ve been told by the states they can get this up and running immediately.”
The Treasury secretary then seemed to dare Democrats to challenge the administration in court, suggesting that such a move would invite a PR disaster.
“And I would say if the Democrats want to challenge us in court and hold up unemployment benefits to those hard-working Americans that are out of a job because of COVID, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do,” he said. (RELATED: Chris Wallace: Trump, GOP Could Be Putting Democrats In ‘Difficult Political Position’ On Coronavirus Relief Funds)
Mnuchin defended the $400 as significantly higher than the “$25 top-up” provided during the Great Recession under President Obama.