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Trump seems ready, willing to bypass lawmakers on virus aid

Update: President Trump signed coronavirus relief Saturday afternoon.

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — Ready and willing to bypass elected lawmakers, President Donald Trump seemed set to claim the power to defer payroll taxes and extend expired unemployment benefits after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed.

The White House signaled Saturday that the president was soon expected to sign four executive orders, contending Washington’s gridlock had compelled him to act as the pandemic undermined the country’s economy and the November election nears. Trump scheduled an afternoon news conference at his country club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Perhaps most crucially, he intended to extend the unemployment benefits that have run out, but it was not clear whether the assistance would remain at $600 a week or where the money would come from. He also planned to defer the payroll tax until the end of the year, hold off student loan payments and enforce a freeze on evictions.

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