President Trump's executive order extending additional unemployment assistance leaves many confused

WASHINGTON (WTVD) -- Saturday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would extend the federal benefits provided to unemployed Americans as part of the CARES Act. The order, which many on Capitol Hill have since called unconstitutional, spells out few details, but does say the benefits would now be capped at $400 per week -- down from the $600 previously distributed.

Trump made the announcement from his Bedminster, N.J., golf club Saturday. When pressed by reporters about when Americans should receive their money, President Trump replied, "Soon...very rapidly." Shortly thereafter, the president abruptly ended his news conference after another round of questioning from reporters.



"I'm not holding my breath that anything is going to change right now," said Starr Markham. Markham is a theatrical worker with the IATSE Local 417 chapter.

RELATED: President's weekly unemployment extension met with mixed reactions by North Carolinians

As a member of the entertainment industry, Markham has found herself out of work indefinitely. "I think the specter of losing your job, running out of money, running out of assistance -- is a very terrible thing," Markham said.

Leading up to the pandemic, Markham had a sizable savings account that she has since seen dwindle. "I am basically pouring through that emergency fund," she said.

Aaron Fernung of Harnett County is also out of work and said he has applied for over 200 jobs and has yet to be hired.

"It's pretty frustrating when you have kids to feed," Fernung said. He has three children in Indiana that he is required to pay child support for and two in North Carolina. Fernung heard of the president's executive order from Saturday and is unsure why the White House and Congress fail to be on the same page.

"It feels like a false sense of hope," he said.

The North Carolina Division of Employment Security, who is responsible for distributing federal funds to Americans from the government, also doesn't have specific details on the president's executive order. In an email to ABC11, an NCDES spokesperson said, "DES is unable to provide details about how this program would be administered until we receive more guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor."

COVID-19 orders: A breakdown of Trump's actions on $400 weekly unemployment boost, evictions, student loans, payroll taxes

The U.S. Department of Labor has not responded to ABC11's request for comment.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.