Written by Vaughn Golden for the Watertown Daily Times on August 11, 2020

Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said she supports President Donald J. Trump’s executive orders signed over the weekend instituting new COVID-19 relief measures as Congressional leaders continue to try and negotiate a deal.

Chief of the actions made in the executive orders is a $400 addition to unemployment benefits as well as measures billed as a moratorium on evictions, a suspension of payroll taxes and student loan relief. It’s not clear yet how any of the provisions of the executive orders may make tangible effects especially if they’re challenged in court or overridden by a congressional package.

In saying she supported the president’s orders, Rep. Stefanik blamed Democratic leaders for a pause in talks, which stalled over the weekend.

“This is because of Democrats’ in Congress failure to act. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer walked away from negotiations,” Rep. Stefanik said.

Schumer took to the Senate floor Monday, placing blame on Republicans and accusing them of refusing to compromise on a legislative package.

“At the end of last week, after days of arduous negotiations, Speaker Pelosi and I continued to run into Republican intransigence,” Mr. Schumer said.

Democrats had previously pushed a $3.5 trillion relief bill through the House, but the legislation was dead on arrival in the Senate. Republicans drafted a $1 trillion piece of legislation, but neither side has been able to develop a compromising plan.

Rep. Stefanik said she would like to see a package that includes direct funding for K-12 schools as well as municipal and county governments. She also noted that she believes the additional $600 unemployment benefit should be adjusted to be “more reflective of previous wages,” so as to encourage workers to go back into jobs.

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