Republican states lead effort to grant jobless benefit boost through Trump executive action

Republican states are leading the effort to make use of the unemployment benefits offered through President Trump’s executive action In August.

Of the eight states that have already started sending unemployment benefit checks to residents, seven of them are controlled by Republican governors and legislatures, according to the White House. The eight states are Arizona, Texas, Montana, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, Iowa, and Alabama.

Trump signed an executive memorandum on Aug. 8, providing jobless workers a $400 weekly stipend above their regular benefits. States would provide $100 of the payment, and the federal government would shoulder the rest.

States had to apply for the $300 federal portion of the unemployment benefit from the Federal Emergency Management Agency In order to get access to the funds. The agency will retroactively cover lost wages from the first week of August onward.

A White House official told the Washington Examiner that 45 states were approved for the program as of Friday afternoon. It typically takes two to three weeks for states to set up and reprogram their unemployment systems, once approved by the federal government, before they can actually send the money to residents.

The seven Republican states appear to have successfully applied for the jobless aid and then reprogrammed their unemployment systems faster than others In order to receive the extra $300 benefit sooner.

The $300 enhanced unemployment payment that Trump’s program provides is the half of what jobless workers received In the months prior to August.

The bipartisan March CARES Act provided a $600-a-week jobless benefit. The program also provided relief for people sidelined by the pandemic who normally wouldn’t be eligible for unemployment, such as independent contractors whose work dried up. It expired at the end of July.

House Democrats passed legislation that would extend the $600 payment until Jan. 31 for most jobless workers.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans included a $200 additional unemployment payment In the HEALS Act that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, released In July.

Congress failed to negotiate a legislative package, though, and the benefits lapsed.