AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas on Thursday joined the growing list of states that will pursue President Donald Trump’s plan to offer a stripped-down boost in unemployment benefits to millions of Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas will apply for federal grants allowing the state to increase unemployment checks by $300. An Associated Press survey found that as of Thursday at least 25 states have said they intend to pursue the money while two states, Mississippi and South Dakota, have said they won’t.
Abbott previously was noncommittal about whether Texas would accept the money while expressing optimism that Trump and Congress would reach a deal on a broader new coronavirus relief plan. People out of work had been receiving an extra federally funded $600 a week, but the boost expired at the end of July.
The president signed an executive order on Aug. 8 to extend the added weekly benefit, but cut it to $300 or $400 a week, depending on which plan governors choose.
“The Lost Wage Assistance program will provide crucial financial support to Texans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abbott said in a statement.