US President Donald Trump has taken executive action to provide economic aid to millions of Americans hit by the pandemic, saying he was forced to do so after talks at Congress broke down.
The directives include measures to support the unemployed, suspend payroll tax and extend student loans.
Some of them are likely to face legal challenges given that Congress controls federal spending, not the president.
Democratic rival Joe Biden said they were a series of half-baked measures.
It is not known whether the move will mean the end of talks between senior government officials and top Democrats for a stimulus package.
Negotiations broke down last week Friday after two weeks.