Some states could start to make the $400 expanded unemployment payments as early as this week after drawing down on federal funds made available through the executive orders President Donald Trump signed in early August, according to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia.
"Seven states now that are approved, some of them have already received the money from the federal government and are taking the steps they need to begin dispersing funds," Scalia said on Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria" Tuesday. "I think at least one state will begin making up those additional payments this week."
The secretary did not comment on which states have received the funds. Under Trump's executive order, states are to provide $100 a week per unemployment recipient, with the federal government to kick in $300, making a total of $400 per person. The president passed the order and several others after Congress failed to pass its latest coronavirus relief bill.
"What we are doing is drawing on funds that FEMA [ the Federal Emergency Management Agency] has and making them available to the states," Scalia said Tuesday, adding states can draw from coronavirus relief funds they have already received to make up the difference. The $400 benefits are down from the initial $600 that was approved earlier this year, and many governors are saying they have already allocated the relief funds they have received and can't afford to pay the extra $100 unemployment payments.
Scalia said Tuesday Trump has provided "terrific presidential leadership" with the plan, when compared to Democrats who have "stood in the way" of passing legislation. He added that the president still wants Congress to act and provide longer-term help.
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