- Associated Press - Sunday, August 9, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Ned Lamont criticized President Trump’s executive order that seeks state money to help extend emergency unemployment benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump’s plan to provide an extra $400 a week in benefits requires states to kick in $100 a week. Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Lamont said the plan would cost Connecticut about $500 million through the end of the year.

“I could take that money from testing,” Lamont said. “I don’t think that’s a great idea. I could take that money from, you know, mass disinfecting for our schools. I don’t think that’s a great idea. In fact, I think the president’s plan is not a great idea.”

Lamont said in addition to the unemployment compensation the state is already paying unemployed workers, it is also helping with rents.

“What I’m doing here at the state level is in particular rent relief,” he said. “I’ve got, you know, tens of thousands of people who fear eviction. We have an eviction moratorium. We put money in place to help them negotiate with their landlord.”

The governor also defended the state’s plan to reopen schools without requiring regular coronavirus testing for students and teachers. He said he believes the the state’s low infection rate, currently at about 1% of those tested, will allow the state to open schools safely.

“We have 160 testing centers,” Lamont said. “Any teacher that wants to go get a free test, (I’m) recommending maybe some of them do that before the start of the school year.”

As of Friday, Connecticut had 65 people hospitalized with COVID-19. The state has reported 50,320 virus cases, with 4,441 coronavirus-related deaths.

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