In addition to the Democratic criticism of Donald Trump‘s recent coronavirus-related executive actions, a number of GOP elected officials are sharing their displeasure over his constitutionally dubious move.
Trump announced his plan on Saturday to bypass Congress in allocating funds through a series of executive orders to halt federal payroll tax deductions, extend supplemental unemployment benefits at a reduced rate, provide relief to student loan debtors, and forestall federal evictions.
Republicans joined in on the bipartisan criticism of a move that circumvents the constitutional authority given to the legislature to approve spending measures.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a frequent Trump ally, said that he “would much prefer a congressional agreement” to the president’s unilateral decree.
Others in the party were more forthright in their denunciation.
“The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. “President Obama did not have the power to unilaterally rewrite immigration law with DACA, and President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law.”
Libertarian U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a Trump critic who left the GOP last year, decried the orders as authoritarian.
“Our Constitution doesn’t authorize the president to act as king whenever Congress doesn’t legislate,” he tweeted.