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States on hook for billions under Trump's unemployment plan

Donald Trump
Posted at 4:27 PM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-09 17:50:18-04

WASHINGTON — A plan from President Donald Trump to extend additional unemployment benefits requires states to provide 25 percent of the funds, and it's unclear whether states have the money or the will to do it.

Trump issued an executive order Saturday to provide an additional $400 a week in benefits after Congress failed to extend a $600 weekly benefit. But Trump's plan requires states to kick in $100 a week, and many states are already suffering budget woes related to the coronavirus.

Senator Chuck Schumer came out swinging over the plan. He said Trump's “golf club executive orders” do next to nothing for New York and actually make things worse with schools and local budgets on the line.

“The executive orders are all too narrow, unworkable and weak,”Schumer (D-NY) said at a news conference.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it “laughable” and “impossible."

"The concept of saying to states, 'you pay 25% of the unemployment insurance,' is just laughable,” the governor said on Sunday during a coronavirus teleconference with reporters. “The whole issue here was getting state and local funding. You can’t now say to states who have no funding, 'and you have to pay 25% of the unemployment insurance cost.'"

Cuomo said doing so would cost the state at least $4 billion.

New York’s budget has already been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo has previously estimated a $14 billion loss of revenueand about a $5 billion cost related to fighting the virus.

“What the president has done has made it impossible, impossible on the state,” the governor added.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said it would cost his state alone $500 million to provide the extra benefit through the rest of 2020.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said states suffering due to COVID-19 don’t have any money to help pay for anything. She also complained about everything Trump left out in his orders.

“Our assistance to the schools, feeding the hungry, helping people who are going to be evicted. The president didn't even do a moratorium; he just did a study, a look at a moratorium," Pelosi said on CNN. “Something is wrong. Either the president doesn’t know what he is talking about, clearly his aides don't know what he's taking about or something's very wrong here about meeting the needs of the American people at this time."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the executive orders are legal and he added Americans would hold Democrats responsible if their jobless benefits are held up because of a court challenge.