President Trump’s senior aides acknowledged on Tuesday that they are providing less financial assistance for the unemployed than the president initially advertised amid mounting blowback from state officials of both parties.
On Saturday, Trump approved an executive action that he claimed would provide an additional $400 per week in expanded unemployment benefits for Americans who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
By Tuesday, senior White House officials were saying publicly that the maneuver only guarantees an extra $300 per week for unemployed Americans — with states not required to add anything to their existing state benefit programs to qualify for the federal benefit.
Governors’ offices and labor agencies in Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan and Oklahoma said in recent days they are awaiting federal guidance before they make a determination about their benefits.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the orders would be swiftly implemented.
“Within the next week or two, we think the states will be able to execute,” he told reporters.
Under Trump’s directive, the federal government may only have enough money to pay the enhanced $300 benefits for about five weeks. After that, it would be up to states entirely to cover perhaps billions of dollars in unemployment aid using their own coffers, creating a financial headache for those that are anticipating multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls as a result of the pandemic. To do so, some states’ legislatures — including those that may not currently be in session — also may need to intervene just to authorize new spending or reapportion existing federal dollars to unemployment.
The article was published at White House acknowledges new unemployment assistance less than what President Trump originally touted.