Mulvaney on Trump's executive orders: White House has 'done their homework' on coronavirus relief

The White House 'can probably make most of this stick,’ the former WH chief of staff says

The White House has “done their homework” on coronavirus relief, former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Monday, referring to the four executive orders President Trump signed over the weekend to provide Americans financial assistance from the ongoing pandemic amid stalled negotiations in the Senate.

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Mulvaney told “Mornings with Maria” on Monday that he reviewed the executive orders over the weekend, saying he found it “fascinating” to see how the White House “structured these things.”

“It looks like a lot of it comes out of money that was already appropriated in the CARES Act and then run through the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] through the Stafford Act, that’s a very powerful piece of legislation that when Congress passed many years ago gave every administration a great deal of authority and great deal of discretion,” Mulvaney said.

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“That’s where the money’s coming, for example, under the executive order for these extensions to the unemployment benefits.”

Mulvaney went on to explain that “the CARES Act back in the springtime appropriated roughly $150 billion in that area to DHS, less than half of it… has already been spent.”

“And what it looks like the president’s trying to do is go in there and say, ‘OK, I’ll redirect this money that Congress has already appropriated.’”

Mulvaney said it “looks like it could be fairly well backed up legally,” acknowledging that he hasn’t “had the chance to do the cross-references and so forth.”

“But it’s the type of thing that the Office of Management and Budget used to work on all the time so my guess is they’ve done their homework on this and can probably make most of it stick,” he continued.

On Saturday, President Trump signed the four executive actions, which included $400-per-week in supplemental unemployment aid. Those who were unemployed were getting $600-a-week extra until the federal program expired at the end of July.

Trump’s executive action would encourage federal efforts to help renters and homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure for failing to make their monthly payments.

Congress had passed the CARES Act in March, which issued a 120-day temporary eviction moratorium on renters in federal housing assistance programs or those who live in a property with a federally backed mortgage, but that eviction moratorium expired in July.

Trump’s executive action also suspends federal student loan payments and sets interest rates to 0% through Dec. 31, 2020. The current student loan relief programs were to expire on Sept. 30.

In addition, Trump deferred the payroll tax from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, for employees making $100,000 or less a year. The tax, deducted from workers' paychecks, funds Social Security and Medicare. Employees would need to repay the federal government once the tax holiday ends without further action.

FOX Business' Dagen McDowell noted on Monday that “Democratic governors” need to “get on-board” with the $400 weekly payment in Trump’s executive order because “25% has to be funded by the states.”

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She also pointed out that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo “rejected the plan” as “an impossibility.”

Cuomo on Sunday said it’s “laughable” to expect New York to pitch in more money for unemployment, the New York Post reported.

“What the president has done has made it impossible, impossible on the state,” Cuomo reportedly said during a conference call with reporters on Sunday.

“The concept of saying to states ‘You pay 25 percent of unemployment insurance’ is just laughable,” he reportedly continued, estimating that covering part of the benefits would set New York back $4 billion. He added that the cost was “irreconcilable.”

“I don’t think the governors can hold out if other states are making it work,” Mulvaney said on Monday.

Mulvaney acknowledged that Cuomo is “governor of his state” and “has the right not to participate in this program.”

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“I think it would be very difficult for him to continue that if he turns out to be wrong and you go to a state like South Carolina where I am and the governor’s a Republican decides to try and work with the federal government to get that extra supplement,” Mulvaney said. “And if it starts working in those states it will be very difficult for those blue state governors to sort of stay on the sidelines.”

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Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.