With the COVID-19 pandemic still heavily affecting the American way of life, our nation is fighting a two-fronted war: Not only must we continue to focus on preventing the spread of coronavirus, but we must also pay mind to the effects that the national shutdown has had on our economy.
Without a vaccine or surefire treatment for the virus, Americans must practice social distancing in order to essentially starve COVID-19 of victims. Of course, remaining six feet apart from one another is nearly impossible in certain activities, and greatly diminishes the overall velocity of our national economy in others. Restaurant who have reopened are doing so at a heavily reduced capacity and with far fewer staff members as a result. Sports stadiums, churches, and movie theaters are all but abandoned at this point.
What this boils down to is the fact that the government is now in the business of providing fiscal security for the tens of millions of Americans who have been unduly affected by this economic downturn. Unfortunately, the partisan nature of our Congress has made even this straightforward task nearly impossible, forcing President Trump to utilize an executive order to bring back a portion of the enhanced unemployment benefits that our elected officials refused to renew.
The Secretary of the Treasury has now laid out a timeline for the return of this piece of the stimulus.
During a press conference yesterday, President Trump was asked for a timetable for when the $400 weekly unemployment benefit would begin. The question relates to the executive actions Mr. Trump took over the weekend. As we’ve already covered, those actions included enhanced unemployment benefits.
The enhanced unemployment benefits were part of a memorandum Mr. Trump issued to the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The memorandum called for an “Assistance Program for Lost Wages.” Specifically, it directed DHS to approve the lost wages program authorizing states to provide $400 per week to eligible unemployed individuals.
In the press briefing yesterday, Mr. Trump was asked about a timetable as to when the unemployed can expect to start receiving these benefits. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who attended the press briefing, responding saying, “within the next week or two, most of the states will be able to execute.” States must make changes to their unemployment insurance systems, and this takes time.
With a massive wave of evictions and foreclosures in the offing should the government fail to act, this news has come not a day too soon for America.
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