Kansas governor skeptical of Trump plan to extend unemployment benefits

photo by: Associated Press

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions from reporters following a meeting with legislative leaders about budget issues, Friday, June 26, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. — A spokeswoman says Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration is reviewing President Donald Trump’s plan to extend supplemental unemployment benefits but is waiting for more details.

A program providing an additional $600 a week to workers left unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic expired July 31, and Congress hasn’t agreed on a bill including an extension. Trump announced a plan this weekend to provide an additional $400 a week in benefits but said states would have to cover 25% of the cost.

Kelly spokeswoman Lauren Fitzgerald called Trump’s plan only “a broad memo” and questioned whether he can provide the extra benefits through an executive order.

Kansas struggled to handle a huge surge of unemployment claims from the pandemic-related shutdown of the state’s economy this spring. Kelly blamed much of the problem on a decades-old computer system, but Labor Secretary Delia Garcia was forced to resign in June.

Fitzgerald said the state has limited resources.

“If we divert those resources to try and implement a plan that may not be permanent and may not even be legal, it could ultimately prevent Kansans receiving those benefits in a timely manner when a more permanent solution is just around the corner if Congress acts,” Fitzgerald said.

Related story

States strain to carry out Trump order on unemployment aid


Welcome to the new LJWorld.com. Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.