Guam will apply to join Trump $400-a-week unemployment plan

US President Donald Trump signs executive orders extending coronavirus economic relief, during a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images/ via Fox News)

The government of Guam might still join President Trump’s $400 a week unemployment plan although Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero previously said Adelup doesn’t have the required 25 percent local match funding required by Trump’s executive order.

On Aug. 9, Trump announced a $400-per-week supplemental unemployment payment for out-of-work Americans in all US states and territories, including Guam. This is still short of the $600 weekly benefit that expired at the end of July.

However, for the new $400-per-week benefit, states and territories would be on the hook for funding 25 percent of the total. This means that for every $400 unemployment benefit, Guam and other states and territories would have to cough up $100.

During her online news conference Thursday afternoon, the governor said her administration has been talking with the federal government to discuss the costs of the Trump unemployment program.

What seems to have changed the governor’s mind is that the upfront cost for GovGuam may not require immediate payment.

“I am made to understand that the unemployment funding will come from the disaster relief fund and funds will be given upfront. So it’s not like we have to provide it first and then they’ll reimburse us. So in discussions with FEMA, the upfront cost for the 75% will be drawn, or will be loaded up through the Department of Labor,” Leon Guerrero said.

The governor added that she’s also looking for sources of funding within Adelup to provide GovGuam’s cost-share in the Trump unemployment program.

“I am looking for the ability to also pay the cost-share. And the information is that this program will last for only three weeks. And so the cost-share is not as extreme as I had thought it would be. So I am having my director of BBMR also do a look at what funds are available to be able to provide the 25 percent. Beyond three weeks is another question. But we’ll address it as it comes up,” Leon Guerrero said.

According to the governor, she has already asked Guam Department of Labor director Dave Dell’Isola to go ahead and apply for the Trump unemployment program.

“And my understanding is once you apply, and it’s approved, it becomes available within 10 days. So that would help our people. It would help those individuals that have been furloughed or are unemployed,” Leon Guerrero said.

To fund the 25 percent local share, Leon Guerrero is looking at federal coronavirus funds whose use rests upon the discretion of the governor.