Edwards uncertain about how Trump’s unemployment plan will work for Louisiana

In his address on Tuesday, Governor John Bel Edwards discussed President Donald Trump’s recent executive order regarding unemployment aid.


Edwards said he hasn’t determined how Louisiana will be able to tap into President Donald Trump’s partial extension of federal unemployment aid.


Congress previously approved $600 weekly federal unemployment payments, added to what states pay in unemployment, which expired at the end of July. Trump’s new executive order takes $44 billion from a federal disaster relief fund to use to offer states additional money to get to a total of $400 a week in unemployment, on top of what the state already offers. The Government will provide $300; each state will have to come up with the remaining 25 percent.


Edwards shared today he’s not sure if Louisiana will be able to come up with a way to pay its 25 percent cost share of providing the $400 weekly unemployment benefit or if the state would accept a $300 payment from the federal government instead. Edwards also estimated that as many as 200,000 people currently receiving unemployment not be eligible for the benefit.


“We’re trying to figure out how we can participate because we know we have a lot of workers who are unemployed, continue to be unemployed, through no fault of their own, and we want to make available to them all of the assistance that we can,” Edwards said.


The Trump administration has previously suggested states could use federal coronavirus aid already allocated by Congress to pay the 25 percent. However, during our recent session and special session, Louisiana law makers have already earmarked all $1.8 billion of its money to close gaps in the state budget, give small business grants, reimburse local governments for virus-related spending and give one-time payments to front-line workers.


More than 450,000 people in Louisiana have been receiving unemployment aid. Louisiana’s existing benefits currently can reach $247 per week.