Trump’s executive order on unemployment benefits explained

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What’s happening with the unemployment benefits?

Amid an impasse between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, President Trump signed an executive order on Saturday to restore an extra $400 to weekly unemployment benefits for millions of Americans jobless because of the coronavirus.

The $600 Congress had authorized in the $2.2 trillion spending package passed in March expired at the end of July.

The president also said states would be on the hook for a quarter of the $400 amount – or $100.

If governors balk, the benefit would be reduced in those states to $300 a week.

How did governors react?

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the proposal that states have to pitch in to sweeten the benefit “laughable.”

“What the president has done has made it impossible, impossible on the state,” Cuomo, the chairman of the National Governors Association, told reporters on Sunday.

In a statement, Cuomo and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Arkansas), the group’s vice chairman, expressed concern about how already financially strapped states would be able to afford the contribution.

“We appreciate the White House’s proposals to provide additional solutions to address economic challenges; however, we are concerned by the significant administrative burdens and costs this latest action would place on the states,” the statement said.

Cuomo and Hutchinson called on Congress and the White House to continue to try to hammer out a deal.

What’s the timetable?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of the administration members leading the negotiations with Congress, said on Monday that “within the next week or two, most of the states will be able to execute.”

The $400 benefit, funded by diverting $44 billion from the country’s Disaster Relief Fund, is set to expire no later than December.

Who’s eligible?

Only unemployed Americans collecting more than $100 a week in jobless benefits are eligible.

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