Governor John Carney expressed frustration Tuesday over President Donald Trump's recent executive order that extends federal pandemic unemployment assistance for those who've lost their jobs, but requires states to pick up a portion of the tab.
"This new action, this executive order, is very complicated, and frankly, unnecessary," he told WDEL.
The executive order reduces pandemic unemployment assistance from $600 to $400 a week, but requires states to pay 25% or $100 of that cost.
The memorandum, from the president, noted if a state does not have the money and can't pay, it won't receive the other $300 from the federal government and workers will only be left with existing state unemployment benefits. States will also have to set up an entirely new system to deliver the additional aid, CNN reported.
"We have a system where we can do 100% or we can do 75%, they pay 25, and it will depend on the state," Trump told reporters before returning to the White House from his resort in New Jersey. "And they will make a application. We will look at it, and we'll make a decision."
Delaware, to date, has paid out more than $750 million in state unemployment benefits. It's using a portion of CARES Act federal funding to pay those costs, but it's not enough.
“We, with our own revenues can't afford that, so we will be taking out a loan from the federal government for our current obligations and payments that we have to make going forward," said Carney.
The governor's office did not respond to questions on the loan's amount.
The state received $927 million in CARES Act funding while New Castle County received its own allocation of $322.8 million.
Amid record claims, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund was slated to run out of money by late June, according to Darryl Scott, the director Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance, and the state suspects at least half of the state's share of coronavirus relief money could be spent solely on unemployment.
In May, WDEL reported the state had sought $275 million of the county's share of CARES Act funds to help cover unemployment costs. To date, the state has not received funding of that magnitude from the county.
From hoping they'd work together to asking for the lion's share, the tides appear to have sh…
“We continue to collaborate with the state on our expenditure of the people's CARES Act funding, including in testing, housing assistance and other programs to eradicate the virus and assist the most vulnerable,” said County Executive Matt Meyer.
At least $80 million in federal pandemic unemployment assistance, has been paid to Delawareans, at no cost to the state.
While he thanked Delaware's delegation, Carney said Congress should have acted by now to come to an agreement to extend pandemic unemployment assistance within the current framework.
"It's important support, that's necessary for Delaware families that have been unemployed. Delawareans, who've been unemployed, have to support their families," he said.
The governor also pointed to the restarting of two state programs this week, with $40 million in federal CARES Act funding, provided by the state and New Castle County, for mortgage and renters assistance, to keep people in their homes.
"These benefits are incredibly important as well," he said. "And so we would encourage the current Congress to act build on our current system, which is not nearly as complicated as this, but we don't have the resources, right now. We're using federal resources for the benefits that are being paid, as we speak. It's just an unnecessary and complicated way of addressing a real need or the people of Delaware."