Skip to content
Noah Feldman

A Simple Way to Think About Trump’s Confusing Covid Orders

The president can't create new money, but he can decline to enforce the collection of it.

The president is not all-powerful.

The president is not all-powerful.

Photographer: Doug Mills/Getty Images

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump issued several new executive orders aimed at extending the Covid-19 economic stimulus that has offered some financial relief to millions of Americans. But instead of bringing clarity, the orders have generated a raft of confusion. Are they even constitutional? Will they go into effect?

For your convenience, here’s a simple rule of thumb for what the president can and cannot do on his own, without Congress: No to new money; yes to relaxed collection of money you owe the government.