Sep 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis to end federal unemployment program, saying Florida can't afford it

President Donald Trump speaks with Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis

Trump speaks with DeSantis at Palm Beach International Airport, Florida, Sept. 8. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) plans to terminate a Trump program that supports unemployment benefits for out-of-work Floridians because the state's jobless program doesn't have the resources to qualify for the federal assistance, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Florida is among the first states to stop the program because of the cost. The state doesn't pay its unemployed workers enough to meet the 25% matching requirement, so people will lose out on an extra $300 a week made possible by President Trump's executive order, Politico notes.

The big picture: The move to scrap the federal assistance comes just eight weeks before the 2020 election. Trump's re-election path has to go through Florida, Axios White House editor Margaret Talev writes.

The state of play: DeSantis said last week that Florida didn't have the "capacity" to accept the $300 payments from the Trump administration.

  • The program requires that states spend at least $100 per person per week on its own jobless benefits to qualify, Politico writes.
  • Florida has one of the weakest unemployment programs in the U.S.

What to watch: DeSantis is expected to put roughly $6 billion worth of CARES Act money that Congress sent to Florida toward the state’s COVID-19 response and fill in the budget.

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