Photo: Andrew Harnik, STF / Associated Press
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There’s still much confusion about how President Donald Trump’s executive orders giving an extra $400 per week to unemployment recipients will play out – if at all.
The orders pull money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s hurricane response fund and allocate it to the increased unemployment payments after Congress failed to compromise on how benefits would be expanded under the next COVID-19 economic relief bill, according to the Texas Tribune. Up until the end of July, recipients were receiving an extra $600 per week for unemployment, but Senate Republicans balked at the idea of expanding those benefits and conceding other aspects of the bill pushed by House Democrats.
The stalemate in Congress continued over the weekend, which is when Trump signed the orders. But his good-faith gesture might be just that.
The series of executive orders are expected to be challenged in court. States – including those led by Republicans, like Texas – are still working out whether Trump’s workaround is doable.
It’s unclear how the entire $400 will be funded. The FEMA hurricane funds (pulled in the height of the Atlantic hurricane season) only fulfill $300 of the unemployment, leaving the other $100 up to states to fund.
States are allowed to use existing unemployment benefits to make up that $100, meaning the net benefits could be as low as $300.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Trump’s plan is impossible because of the cost, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Texas leaders have not said whether the state would pay the extra $100 to unemployed Texans. Gov. Greg Abbott is hopeful Congress can reach a deal, according to the Tribune.