Trump signs relief order after talks at Congress collapse
Aug 09 , 2020

US President Donald Trump has taken executive action to provide economic aid to millions of Americans hit by the pandemic, saying he was forced to do so after talks at Congress broke down.

The directives include measures to support the unemployed, suspend payroll tax and extend student loans.

Some of them are likely to face legal challenges given that Congress controls federal spending, not the president.

Democratic rival Joe Biden said they were "a series of half-baked measures".

It is not known whether the move will mean the end of talks between senior government officials and top Democrats for a stimulus package. Negotiations broke down on Friday after two weeks.

he US unemployment rate continued to fall in July, but it was a much lower decrease than in May and June, denting hopes of an economic revival.

The country's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 160,000. The US has far more Covid-19 cases by volume than any other country - nearly five million - and its rate of infection has risen steadily throughout the summer.

Congress has already allocated some $3tn for pandemic relief so far. Some Republicans in Congress do not wish to spend any more, and nearly half of Republican senators say they would oppose any new relief bill at all.

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