Report: Pa. may ask Washington for help paying enhanced unemployment benefits

    Jobless workers demonstrate in Miami Springs in support of continued federal unemployment benefits in the pandemic economy. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Pennsylvania officials have reached out to the U.S. Department of Labor for a loan to bolster its unemployment trust fund as President Donald Trump pushes state governments to pick up an increased share of enhanced benefits, according to a published report.

    The Associated Press reports:

    Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said it was waiting for federal guidance to understand the full impact of Trump’s executive order. But, it said, reducing the benefit from $600 a week to $400 a week will make it harder for families to get by during the pandemic.

    It places a larger financial burden on states, the administration said, noting that it has inquired about a federal loan as a precautionary measure.

    It’s not clear whether Trump has the constitutional authority to extend federal unemployment benefits by executive order or whether states will sign on.

    Under Trump’s plan, the $400 a week requires a state to commit to providing $100.

    Pennsylvania had $3.4 billion in its unemployment compensation trust fund at the beginning of the year, according to federal figures. Wolf’s administration didn’t immediately say how much is left.

    John L. Micek
    A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press