Trump: Some States May ‘Pay Nothing’ for Bolstered Unemployment

August 10, 2020 Updated: August 10, 2020

Some states may pay nothing for the unemployment plan outlined in executive orders over the weekend, President Donald Trump told reporters on Aug. 9.

“It will depend on the states,” Trump said. “It may be they pay nothing.”

One order extends enhanced unemployment benefits, but states are required to pay 25 percent of the cost.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on “Fox News Sunday” that “states don’t have the money to do that.”

“They have expenses from the coronavirus. They have lost revenue from shelter-in-place and the fact that people are not being able to go out and spend money, inject demand into the economy, as they would normally,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
(L) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) walk to speak to reporters after meeting with White House officials at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Aug. 7, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Trump, speaking outside his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, told reporters that each state will submit an application, and he will be personally involved in the matter.

“We have a system where we can do 100 percent or we can do 75 percent, they pay 25, and it will depend on the state, and they will make an application. We will look at it, and we’ll make a decision,” he said.

“So you know, they may be, they’ll pay nothing in some instances or maybe they’ll—a little bit like the National Guard, like the National Guard, as you know. Sometimes we’ll pay all of it depending on the tragedy, or whatever it may be, the disaster. Sometimes the state will pay 40 percent, 25 percent, 10 percent or nothing—depending on how it works out.”

Trump signed the orders on Aug. 8. He said that states would be asked to cover a quarter of the cost of the enhanced unemployment benefit.

States would use “existing funding, such as the tens of billions of dollars available to them through the Coronavirus Relief Fund,” Trump said.

“Under this plan, states will be able to offer greater benefits if they so choose, and the federal government will cover 75 percent of the cost,” he said.

The executive action came after congressional leaders failed to reach a deal on unemployment benefits and a new stimulus package in general.

Democrats wanted to authorize $3 trillion more in spending, but Republicans refused to go that high, preferring narrow packages as the funds approved in the previous package are still being dispersed. Democrats offered to shift down to $2 trillion. Republicans and the White House rejected the proposal.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) seemed to suggest that more actions need to be taken despite the executive order.

“We have this huge crisis, the largest economic crisis since the depression, the greatest health crisis since the pandemic,” Schumer told ABC News on Aug. 9.

Trump’s executive actions were nothing but “a big show,” Schumer claimed.

Another order suspended payroll taxes.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the order would save the average worker about $1,200 over a period of four months.

“With respect to the payroll tax, basically we’re giving 140-some-odd million people who worked through this pandemic, they’re heroes, we’re giving them about a $1,200 wage increase after-tax,” Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Aug. 9.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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