Gov. DeSantis eyes loan from feds to extend jobless benefits
Gov. Ron DeSantis at FSU, 8/11/2020. Image via PBS Newshour

FSU DeSantis
It's a 'tough budget year,' but money from the Labor Department would help.

Enhanced unemployment benefits may be possible, Florida’s Governor said Tuesday, if the federal government will float a loan.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, addressing reporters Tuesday in Tallahassee, signaled conditional openness to President Donald Trump‘s proposal for a 75/25 federal/state match for ongoing federal pandemic unemployment assistance.

However, the money, amounting to $100 of a $400 weekly stipend, would have to be fronted from the federal Department of Labor, DeSantis said.

“We’re investigating it and we would do it if we can,” DeSantis said, describing a potential “loan from the Department of Labor to our unemployment system and then pay out additional benefits as a result of that.”

“One concern I have: obviously this is a tough budget time for us, and so if I’m having to potentially have general revenue obligated to this, that is something that would be very problematic given our circumstances,” the Governor noted, before expressing concerns about the legal mechanism itself and the authority ofTrump to authorize expenditures through executive order.

“This Labor thing may give us a way,” DeSantis said, “but there’s only so much you can do through executive action.”

“We’re now in the point when Presidents just do that,” the Governor added about those orders. “I want to make sure there’s no legal risk for us if someone should challenge this where we’d be left on the hook.”

Indeed, there is a certain amount of risk, with congressional Democrats questioning Trump’s authority to make such an obligation. DeSantis has resisted calls to increase unemployment benefits by executive order on his end, saying he lacks the authority to do so.

“My guys are looking at that. I think if we can do the Department of Labor enhanced benefit, that loan, we’d want to do it to give people some more relief,” DeSantis said.

The loan is the only way forward, DeSantis noted, given the encumbrance of federal CARES Act dollars precludes reallocation.

“That’s not an option because those CARES Act dollars are obligated already. Now they haven’t been ‘spent,'” DeSantis added. “It’s $4+ billion that’s been obligated.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


6 comments

  • Ken Lowerre

    August 11, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Larry Kudlow came on FOX news today and said that the wording on the additional $100 dollars is being misunderstood by the Governors. The fact of the matter is that ANY state paying state unemployment benefits is already paying the additional $100 dollars. Kudlow went on to say it should take about 2 weeks for the states to modify their existing systems to accept the 300 dollar payment and that the Federal government will assist in doing any system change. This confusion is preventing a lot of people from receiving additional aid.

    • Julia Davidson

      August 11, 2020 at 4:12 pm

      Here in FL max unemployment is $275. Are you saying that if we are already getting $275, then the additional money would only be $300, for a total of $575, instead of additional $400? You’ve confused me.

  • Esteban Yu

    August 11, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    What about that “If the unemployment rate grows above 5 percent, a week of benefits would be added for every 0.5 percent of rate growth above 5 percent.’ according to Florida DEO

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 12, 2020 at 4:50 am

    Duffus Desantis you are making the case for a damn loan from the federal government ! My god the stupidity is astounding! Trump executive orders cut dollars for Medicare and Social Security! Trump executive order cuts unemployment dollars! Vote Blue to protect you and me!

  • Valerie Sprieser

    August 12, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Desantis you have the money stop crying poor! There are thousands of people who never got their back owed CARE money because your website delayed approving people for unemployment for weeks some 3 months!
    You think you can just swipe that money into the general fund and no one will notice!

  • Paul

    August 13, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Looks like even our Governor knows Trumps meaningless executive order is no solutions to Florida’s unemployment funding, otherwise he would have taken advantage of it immediately. More smoke and no clarity. Remember who is in charge now. Vote Blue up and down the ballot to bring meaningful change to Florida!

Comments are closed.


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