Be clear that Donald Trump deserves no applause for belatedly and petulantly signing a COVID-19 relief bill after dithering through a weekend of golf and rage-tweeting.

Emphasis supplied from New York Times report:


The legislative package will provide billions of dollars for the distribution of vaccines, funds for schools, small businesses, hospitals and American families, and money needed to keep the government open for the remainder of the fiscal year. The enactment came less than 48 hours before the government would have shut down and just days before an eviction moratorium and other critical pandemic relief provisions were set to expire.

But it also came after two critical unemployment programs lapsed, guaranteeing a delay in benefits for millions of unemployed Americans.

More details on the affected programs, with impact that undoubtedly applies in Trump-loving Arkansas:

While the legislation provides for expanded and extended unemployment benefits, Mr. Trump’s delay in signing allowed two critical programs to lapse this weekend and guarantees a delay in benefits for millions of Americans who had relied on the income. The legislation provides for a weekly $300 federal benefit — about half the original benefit established in the March stimulus law — for 11 weeks, and extends the two programs.


With state unemployment agencies waiting for federal guidance on how to put the new legislation in place, it is unclear how quickly those programs could resume and whether the benefits would be retroactive to accommodate the delay. Because unemployment benefits are processed weekly and the legislation was not signed before the beginning of the week, it is likely that workers in most states will lose a week of benefits under the expanded program, as well as a week with the $300 supplemental benefit.

I’ve asked Workforce Services for specific guidance in Arkansas.


Today, Democrats will take Trump up on is proposal to increase aid to $2,000 per worker from $600. I await the roll calls among Republicans on this idea, particularly in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Golfing continues, by the way.


UPDATE: Still no word from Arkansas officials on how Trump’s delay in signing the legislation will affect people in Arkansas qualifying for the regular extra unemployment assistance of $300 a week or the payments for gig workers. Under normal rules, the programs have to be in effect when a payroll week begins. The lapse of the programs could mean a one-week loss of benefits to those covered workers and a reapplication process. Reported CNB C:

‘But it is possible that workers could receive back pay for the missing week, Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, tells CNBC Make It. That will depend on how states, which pay out unemployment claims, are able to interpret language around their unemployment contracts with the Department of Labor, she says. There will be more federal guidance on that sometime this week.