Trump signs executive measures for pandemic relief, but effects are unclear.
President Trump took executive action this weekend that he said would extend an array of federal pandemic relief, while the United States reached yet another virus milestone: five million cases.
It was not clear, though, what immediate effect the orders he signed would have, if any, or what authority Mr. Trump has to act on his own. Under the Constitution, Congress has control over federal spending, and it appears likely that Mr. Trump’s moves to circumvent Congress will be challenged in court.
Mr. Trump signed the orders — billed as a federal eviction ban, a payroll tax suspension, relief for student borrowers and $400 a week for the unemployed — at a news conference at his private golf club in New Jersey on Saturday. The orders did not include a number of provisions sought in congressional proposals, like aid to small businesses, school systems, and state and local governments.
The action came after two weeks of talks between White House officials and top congressional Democrats failed to reach agreement on a broad relief plan and temporary benefits provided under earlier aid measures expired with no resolution in sight.
Coronavirus cases have surged in recent weeks, particularly in the Sun Belt states and in communities where officials moved quickly to reopen. But the nascent economic recovery from those reopenings has appeared to slow or stall in many areas. And schools across the country are grappling with how and whether to reopen in the fall.
According to a New York Times database, the U.S. leads the world in confirmed cases. Brazil ranks second, with more than three million confirmed cases, and India is third with two million. Public health experts have warned that the actual number of people infected is far greater. Brazil also reached a milestone of 100,000 deaths on Saturday.
At least 161,900 people have died in the U.S. since the pandemic began.
New Zealand on Sunday marked…