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California is asking the federal government for a $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit for jobless Californians, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. The move comes after the Trump administration said states would not have to put up billions of new matching dollars, which the governor said last week made the plan unworkable.

With an initial $600 weekly supplement having expired last month — part of the coronavirus relief package approved by Congress in the spring — Newsom said his administration is in talks with federal officials regarding an application to provide a $300 weekly supplement after seven other states had their requests approved.

“We are still waiting for a little bit more clarity and guidance, but we are doing everything in terms of our application process to meet their needs, and our hope and expectation is to be among the first cohort of states to draw down that federal money,” Newsom said during a press conference.

Facing continuing unemployment related to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 8 to provide $400 a week to unemployed Americans as long as states pick up a quarter of the cost — $100. But Newsom said last week that it would cost California $700 million per week to cover the state’s $100 match, a cost he said the state cannot afford.

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