Within hours of President Trump’s announcement Saturday that his administration would provide pandemic-related relief to millions of Americans, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle assailed the move as yet another instance of presidential overreach. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) — who don’t agree on much — settled on the same phrase to describe the president’s actions: “unconstitutional slop.”
That’s understandable — but wrong. Trump has so often exceeded normal limits on presidential authority that it is easy to assume unlawfulness on his part. But the problem with Trump’s actions in this instance isn’t that they are illegal or unconstitutional. It’s that they promise to be inadequate and ineffective. They are, at best, Band-Aids on an open wound. Still, they are Band-Aids that Trump has legal authority to apply under the power that Congress has allowed him to exercise in a disaster.
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