Forty-eight states have been approved for President Donald Trump’s enhanced unemployment payments, created through Trump’s Aug. 8 executive order, called the Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance program.
While state officials across the United States grumbled over details of the program, every state but one applied for the enhanced payments.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved Nevada’s application on Sept. 9, leaving Nebraska as the only state that’s applied for the funding not to be approved. The approval is expected to come this week.
Nebraska Labor Commissioner John Albin expressed concern in a statement that the funding “provides very limited benefits to a portion of Nebraska’s unemployment recipients and has an uncertain end date.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, initially said his administration was analyzing the potential cost of the program. The state Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation submitted its application on Sept. 2.
FEMA also recently approved applications from Guam and the District of Columbia.
South Dakota is the only state opting against the funding.
“South Dakota is in the fortunate position of not needing to accept it,” Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said in an Aug. 14 statement. “South Dakota’s economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses.”
Congress approved a $600 weekly boost to unemployment, completely paid for by the federal government, in March, but the program expired in July.
Republicans have sought to pass a narrow bill that would restart that program but have been blocked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who wants a larger package that includes aid for states. Democrats in the Senate blocked the pared-down measure on Sept. 10, in a 52-47 vote, far short of the 60 votes that would have been needed for the measure, which would have included a $300 per week enhanced unemployment payment, to advance. Democrats were united in opposition; all Republicans voted in favor except Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Trump took action last month amid the congressional stalemate.
“Congressional Democrats have stonewalled our efforts to extend this relief. They even opposed measures that would give bonuses to workers returning to the job. They were totally opposed to that,” Trump told reporters in New Jersey, where he signed four executive orders.
“For this reason, I’m taking action to provide an additional or an extra $400 per week in expanded benefits. $400, OK? That’s generous, but we want to take care of people.”
Under the original proposal, states were required to put up a quarter of the funds. Another option was later released that enables states to obtain $300 a week for unemployed workers without paying anything.
All but two states have taken the lower option. Kentucky and Montana officials chose the higher amount.
“I believe that extra $100 is critically important,” Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters in August.
West Virginia officials said they would choose the higher amount but later decided to go with the lower amount.