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Louisiana uncertain about Trump's unemployment aid order

Trump’s executive order uses a federal disaster relief fund to offer additional unemployment payments.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards says he hasn’t determined how Louisiana will be able to tap into President Donald Trump’s partial extension of federal unemployment aid. 

Congress approved $600 weekly federal unemployment payments, on top of what states pay in unemployment assistance. But that enhanced benefit has expired. 

Trump’s executive order uses a federal disaster relief fund to offer additional unemployment payments. But Edwards said he’s not sure if Louisiana could come up with a way to pay its 25% cost share of providing the $400 weekly unemployment benefit or if the state would instead accept a $300 federal payment. And he says the federal disaster aid will run out quickly.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says the state cannot afford $100 per recipient, per week, to bolster unemployment payments during the coronavirus pandemic. But, the Republican governor is praising President Donald Trump for proposing that states provide the money.

Governors and state labor department officials around the country are scrambling to figure out if it is feasible to implement Trump’s executive order to partially extend enhanced unemployment insurance for millions of Americans struggling to find work in the pandemic-scarred economy. 

Democrats described the Trump effort as a hollow political gesture that would leave Americans without a much-needed lifeline at a time when unemployment remains at a level not seen since the Great Depression. 

Even some GOP governors said they were unsure if the Trump order was workable for their states. 

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