Gov. Scott weighs funding extra $400 unemployment benefits

An extra $400 in weekly unemployment benefits proposed by President Donald Trump over the weekend has yet to be approved by Vermont, as Gov. Phil Scott weighs whether the state could fund such a program.

An executive order signed by the president Saturday would provide benefits to laid off workers, as long as state governments contributed a quarter, or $100, of the weekly payments individuals would receive.

The executive order comes in light of prolonged deadlock between the Trump administration and Congress on a second stimulus package.

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Vermont Gov. Phil Scott speaks at a news conference on Sept. 26, 2019, in Essex Junction, Vermont, where he said he supported an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Donald Trump.

Funding for state contributions is expected to come from the Coronavirus Relief Fund distributed to states through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in late March. Money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund has been used by local governments to address critical expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Monday evening, Gov. Phil Scott has not stated whether Vermont would be able to afford to contribute toward the extra unemployment benefits.

“Governor Scott and his team are committed to doing all they can to support Vermonters in need, so we are carefully reviewing the measures in the President’s executive order and how we could act on, and fund, them here in Vermont,” Rebecca Kelley, Soctt’s communications director, wrote in an email.

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President Donald Trump holds up a signed Executive Order on hiring American workers, during a meeting with U.S. tech workers, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, in Washington.

For the past several months Vermont workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic have been able to collect an extra $600 weekly in unemployment insurance. That additional payment, also known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), expired at the end of July. 

There is no confirmed date for the arrival of the extra $400 weekly unemployment benefit. 

Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or ebakuli@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.

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