Steven Mnuchin warns Democrats about challenging Trump’s COVID-19 orders

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday defended the legality of President Trump’s executive orders to provide financial help during the coronavirus — and said Americans would hold Democrats responsible for delaying the assistance if they challenge the actions in court.

“We’ve cleared with the office of legal counsel all these actions,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“If the Democrats want to challenge us in court and hold up unemployment benefits to those hardworking Americans that are out of a job because of COVID, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do,” he added.

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro said the president had to take action to protect Americans after negotiations in Congress ground to a standstill.

“The problem here is Capitol Hill, the swamp, the two Houses that are too far apart. The Lord and the Founding Fathers created executive orders because of partisan bickering and divided government, that’s what we have here,” he said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Some have questioned whether Trump’s executive actions are a means to bypass Congress and its federal spending authority after talks collapsed last week between the White House, Democrats and Republicans.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sidestepped that question during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week.”

“Well, you know, I’ll leave that up to the attorneys. It doesn’t do the job … it’s not going to go into effect in most places for weeks or months because it’s so put together in a crazy way,” the New York Democrat said.

He went on to say that the enhanced unemployment benefits would have continued to “flow smoothly” if the president had extended the $600 supplement that expired at the end of July.

The president extended the benefit but reduced the amount to $400 from $600 a week — with states expected to kick in 25 percent — saying he didn’t want to give the unemployed an incentive not to return to work.

Host Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” pressed Mnuchin on why the administration cut the benefit for the millions of Americans still jobless.

“We thought $400 was a fair compromise, we offered to continue to pay $600 while we negotiate and the Democrats turned that down,” Mnuchin said.



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