Trump Executive Actions Violate the Constitution and Offer Little Relief

Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause

Americans expect and deserve more from their President in the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis than a photo op and phony posturing at a golf club. Unwilling and unable to negotiate with Congress to deliver a relief package to a nation reeling from COVID-19, President Trump resorted to unconstitutional half measures that will do little to address the serious issues facing the nation.

The power of the purse is granted to Congress in the Constitution whether President Trump likes it or not. Sadly these latest blundering actions are completely in keeping with the failed White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has left more than 160,000 Americans dead and the economy a shambles. Common Cause detailed many of these failings in a report published last week, Intentional Disregard: Trump’s Authoritarianism During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Throughout the crisis the President and his administration have ignored the advice of public health officials and done little beyond offering excuses and attempting to shift the blame away from themselves.

The House passed its latest comprehensive and bipartisan COVID-19 relief package, the Heroes Act, in May. But Mitch McConnell’s Senate dragged its feet until the end of July when it finally introduced a bill woefully insufficient to address the crisis at hand and more focused on the wish list of big corporate donors than the needs of suffering citizens.

It is past time for the Senate and the White House to begin seriously negotiating to pass legislation in keeping with the Heroes Act. That bill includes provisions to strengthen our democracy by extending the Census reporting deadlines and providing funding for our elections, the U.S. Postal Service, broadband access, and local journalism. The Heroes Act provides additional funds for unemployment assistance and Homeowner and Tenant-Based Rental Assistance to Americans facing hardships in the pandemic-crippled economy – including those who recently lost supplemental unemployment assistance and are faced with eviction after Senate and dawdling allowed the CARES Act eviction moratorium to expire.

Americans need relief, not unconstitutional half-measures and posturing. As the November election approaches, voters are watching and they are waiting.