Many rejoiced when Donald Trump revealed a $400 per week unemployment bonus, but now people have some concerns. This hesitation stems from the source of the money. While $100 of each payment in on states to fund, $300 comes from the federal government. This will not come in from the same source as the previous unemployment enacted via the CARES Act. It will instead set from funds typically set aside for FEMA responses.
Per Trump's executive order, the money needed will come from the Department of Homeland Security’s Disaster Relief Fund. This fund currently has $70 billion in it, but Trump is allowing $44 billion to be used towards this unemployment measure. He states that $25 billion is not to be touched and saved for whatever natural disaster could occur this fall.
"To provide financial assistance for the needs of those who have lost employment as a result of the pandemic, I am directing up to $44 billion from the DRF at the statutorily mandated 75 percent Federal cost share be made available for lost wages assistance to eligible claimants, to supplement State expenditures in providing these payments," the order reads. "At least $25 billion of total DRF balances will be set aside to support ongoing disaster response and recovery efforts and potential 2020 major disaster costs."
Some Americans are worried that 2020's hurricane season, which runs through November could be rough. This means more than $25 billion could be needed for relief efforts. Many voiced this concern as well as advocating for Puerto Rico, which many believe did not receive enough FEMA funds to cope with Hurricane Maria damages. Others also pointed out how Trump's strategy seemed almost identical to a plotline in Season 3 of Netflix's political drama House of Cards.
Just a reminder that Trump's idea of funding unemployment through FEMA funds is basically identical to the plot of a House of Cards episode in season three.
I am 100% certain they got the idea for this from the TV show. There is zero chance they didn't. pic.twitter.com/6GyhGQfFZg— Samantha Pritchard (@thucydiplease) August 7, 2020
"I hope any southern state doesn't have any needs from FEMA since Trump is using its funds to pay for unemployment," one Twitter user wrote. "Trump is taking FEMA money that should have been going to rebuild Puerto Rico and giving it to a program that won’t even help out lower-income puertorriqueños," a second wrote. "Robbing money from FEMA when meteorologists are projecting one of the worst hurricane seasons on record," a third added.