South Dakota Governor Declines Trump’s Enhanced Unemployment Payment

August 17, 2020 Updated: August 17, 2020

South Dakota declined to accept the enhanced unemployment payment President Donald Trump offered through a recent executive order.

Gov. Kristi Noem appeared to be the first governor to decline the enhanced payment.

“My administration is very grateful for the additional flexibility that this effort would have provided, but South Dakota is in the fortunate position of not needing to accept it. South Dakota’s economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses,” Noem, a Republican, said in a statement.

Even though she turned down the offer, Noem praised Trump.

“Despite significant disfunction in Congress, President Trump continues to problem solve and provide great leadership during this recovery effort,” she said.

The president on Aug. 8 signed an order that gave states the option of giving the unemployed $400 more per week, with states paying a quarter of that.

Trump signs executive orders
President Donald Trump signs executive orders extending coronavirus economic relief, during a news conference in Bedminster, N.J., on Aug. 8, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

A second option was outlined by the Department of Labor on Aug. 12. That option requires no extra payment, and an adjusted boost of $300 a week.

A Noem spokesman told The Epoch Times via email that the governor reviewed both options.

Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Republican Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said they’re participating in Trump’s program.

“After reviewing in detail all of the federal unemployment aid options presented to me and my team, choosing to give $300 more per week allows us to use the state’s unemployment trust fund and helps us to best serve Alaskans who need unemployment assistance across the entire state as they weather a very difficult period in our history,” Dunleavy said in a statement.

FEMA announced on Aug. 15 that Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and New Mexico were approved to receive the first grants under the Disaster Relief Fund.

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice told reporters last week that he was applying for the enhanced aid.

A number of governors have complained about the 75–25 percent split on the bolstered payment and urged Congress to step in. Lawmakers earlier this year approved a $600 weekly boost to aid, funded wholly by the federal government. That boost expired in late July.

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