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Unemployed Americans hoping for additional help from the government might have to wait weeks for it, if they ever get it at all, as governors say they are unsure whether and how they can implement the plan President Trump outlined in his proclamation of an executive order extending supplemental benefits, which expired at the end of July.
On Saturday, after the White House and congressional Republicans were unable to come to an agreement with Democrats on a new COVID-19 relief deal, Trump signed an executive order that would extend supplemental benefits at the reduced rate of $400 per week instead of the $600 extra benefit included in the virus relief deal passed in March.
Initially, the administration seemed to cap the federal contribution at $300, but only if the states contributed $100 of their own. A number of governors who are dealing with budget crises amid the pandemic called the program “unworkable.”
“States are going broke and millions of Americans are unemployed, yet the solution calls for states to create a new program we can’t afford to begin with and don’t know how to administer because of this uncertainty,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said Monday. “I cannot sit here right now and say New Jersey could afford to participate in this program.”
On Monday, as confusion over the details of the program swirled, the Department of Labor began telling state governments they didn’t have to kick in any money. Trump seemed to confirm that during a White House briefing.
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