States on hook for billions under Trump's unemployment plan

Donald Trump
Posted at 8:11 PM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-09 20:11:57-04

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — 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.

Many states are already facing budget crunches caused by the pandemic, AP reports. Asked at a news conference how many governors had signed on to participate, Trump answered: “If they don’t, they don’t. That’s up to them.”

Aubrey Layne, secretary of finance for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, told AP in a phone interview Sunday that he believes it would be feasible for Virginia to participate in such a program if states are allowed to use money that’s been allocated to them under the already passed CARES Act. He said his preliminary understanding is that states can do so, but he and others are waiting to see the rules published.

The better solution, Layne said, would be for Congress to pass legislation.

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