Gov. Noem rejects Trump’s unemployment plan

Gov. Kristi Noem is discussing South Dakota's plan to return to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Kristi Noem is discussing South Dakota's plan to return to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.(Kristi Noem Facebook Live)
Published: Aug. 15, 2020 at 2:35 PM MDT
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(AP) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has spurned President Donald Trump’s order to extend federal unemployment benefits by $400 a week, saying that the state does not need the program.

Trump last week attempted to bypass Congress in ordering states to extend additional unemployment payments of up to $400 a week to help cushion the economic fallout of the pandemic. Under Trump’s plan, the extra unemployment benefit would require a state to commit to providing $100. It was unclear if Trump had the constitutional authority to extend federal unemployment benefits, and the rejection from Noem, who has been a close Trump ally, shows how little traction the plan may get.

The Republican governor said on Friday that South Dakota does not need the extra unemployment benefits and that nearly 80% of job losses in the state have been recovered.

A total of 14,428 people in South Dakota were receiving unemployment benefits as of Aug. 1. That represents 3.5% of all eligible employees in the state. But new unemployment claims rose during the week ending on Aug. 8, according to the Department of Labor and Regulation, showing that the economic fallout from the coronavirus is still being felt.

Noem has touted how her hands-off approach to regulations to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections has benefitted businesses. She claimed that “many, many businesses are looking to relocate to South Dakota because of the decisions we made during the pandemic.”

The governor attempted to smooth over her rejection of Trump’s plan, saying, “Despite significant disfunction in Congress, President Trump continues to problem solve and provide great leadership during this recovery effort.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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