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COVID & Unemployment

Will the $400 in extra unemployment benefits actually reach people?

Nova Safo Aug 10, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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President Donald Trump signs executive actions extending coronavirus economic relief on Aug. 8. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
COVID & Unemployment

Will the $400 in extra unemployment benefits actually reach people?

Nova Safo Aug 10, 2020
President Donald Trump signs executive actions extending coronavirus economic relief on Aug. 8. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

President Donald Trump signed actions over the weekend aimed at restarting some pandemic relief, including a limited ban on evictions and $400 extra a week in unemployment benefits. But will that aid actually reach people?

The move comes after talks with congressional Democrats over wide-ranging pandemic relief legislation broke down.

Trump directed federal agencies to send $300 dollars in weekly aid, taken from the federal disaster relief fund, and called on states to provide an additional $100.

Matthew Lawrence of Emory University, a scholar of legislative appropriations, said that all four presidential actions are a mere shadow of what negotiators were considering.

“The roadblock is the limitations on presidential power, and the fact that our Constitution relies on Congress to make decisions about taxing and spending,” Lawrence said.

So while Trump can spend some money, he’s very limited in how. Calling on states to implement new unemployment programs, as Trump’s executive action has done, is unlikely to be practical, Lawrence said.

Of the other actions, he said that one has the potential to offer some immediate help, and that’s the further deferring of student loan payments.

Correction (Aug. 10, 2020): Previous versions of this web and audio story mischaracterized the types of actions signed by the president. They have been corrected.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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