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7 States Get First Round of Jobless Aid Under Trump Order

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Seven states applied to provide unemployment benefits under President Donald Trump’s executive order, the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia announced Tuesday, with more states in the pipeline.

Scalia said the first round of beneifits go to Iowa, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Utah, Colorado and Missouri.

Following Trump’s presidential memorandum, Labor released guidance on Aug. 13 to help states implement the LWA program, issued by Trump on Aug. 8.

The LWA provides claimants in most unemployment insurance programs with up to $400 per week of additional benefits, starting with weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1 and concluding on Dec. 27 at the latest.

The LWA is being administered by states and territories through a grant agreement with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and with support from Labor.

“I’m encouraged that these States moved quickly to implement benefits, and we are working with more states to help them provide continued benefits to Americans in need,” Scalia said in a statement.

Postal Service Bill

Meanwhile, after calls by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for the House to return later this week to vote on the Delivering for America Act, which prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to the operations or level of service it had in place on Jan.1, the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that he is suspending any changes until after the election is concluded.

Pelosi responded Tuesday that DeJoy’s announcement “of what may be a temporary pause in operational changes delaying the mail is a necessary but insufficient first step in ending the President’s election sabotage campaign,” and that the House “will be moving ahead with our vote this Saturday” on the post office legislation.

The bill prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to the operations or level of service it had in place on Jan. 1 and provides $25 billion in Postal Service funding.

While the next stimulus agreement is still at loggerheads, published reports say that GOP senators plans to unveil this weekend a “skinny” version of the $1 trillion HEALS Act.

The draft GOP measure is said to include $10 billion in funding for the U.S. Postal Service, $105 billion for schools, a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, as well as an extension of the enhanced federal unemployment benefit, but at a reduced level of $300 a week.

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