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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Whitmer says Trump's executive orders 'do nothing to protect' millions of unemployed Americans

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Posted at 9:32 PM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 07:18:21-04

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded Sunday to recent executive orders announced by the Trump Administration.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump signed four executive orders aimed at helping working and unemployed Americans during the pandemic.

The orders include: Deferring the employee portion of the payroll tax until the end of the year for those making less than $100,000; enhancing unemployment benefits by $400 a week through the end of the year; deferring student loans and forgive interest into December (and possibly longer, the president eluded to extensions), and extend eviction moratoriums nationwide.

To cover the increased cost of the enhanced unemployment benefits, states were asked to cover 25 percent of the cost of the additional $400 a week. Gov. Whitmer responded saying the federal funding cuts for the unemployed further strain states dealing with budget deficits due to the health crisis.

“The president’s recent actions do nothing to protect the millions of unemployed Americans who need to put food on the table for themselves and their families," Whitmer said in a statement. "He cut federal funding for unemployed workers and is requiring states that are facing severe holes in our budgets to provide 25% of the funding. His refusal to provide full federal funding to states across the country to help us combat this virus will hurt the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis, like our first responders, health care workers, child care workers, and more."

When President Trump was asked at Saturday's press briefing what would happen if states did not cover their portion of unemployment benefits, the president said "if they don't, they don't" and said "they have the money."

Read Gov. Whitmer's complete statement below:

Once again, the president has refused to work together with Congress on a bipartisan recovery package that supports our states, families, frontline workers, and small businesses. He has routinely proven that he’s more focused on his chances in the November election than fighting the virus that has killed more than 160,000 Americans.

The president’s recent actions do nothing to protect the millions of unemployed Americans who need to put food on the table for themselves and their families. He cut federal funding for unemployed workers and is requiring states that are facing severe holes in our budgets to provide 25% of the funding. His refusal to provide full federal funding to states across the country to help us combat this virus will hurt the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis, like our first responders, health care workers, child care workers, and more.

The president has repeatedly said that it’s time for our kids to return to school for in-person learning, but he won’t work with Congressional leaders to provide districts with the support they need to keep students, educators, and support staff safe. His executive actions yesterday do nothing to protect our kids from the spread of this virus.

It’s time for the president to do the right thing, stop playing political games, and work with Congress on a recovery package that will help us fight this virus, protect working families, and send our kids, educators, and support staff back to school safely.”