Newsom pushes back on Trump executive orders, talks departure of health official

California

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Gavin Newsom pushed back on a series of executive orders signed over the weekend by President Donald Trump, arguing the state would not be able to shoulder the cost of his unemployment assistance plan without cutting important services.

Newsom said the plan, which would require states take on roughly 25% of unemployment assistance, would cost California taxpayers $700 million a week. The state already has allocated three-quarters of its more than $15 billion in federal funding from the CARES Act, which he called “foundational and instrumental” in addressing issues during the pandemic.

But Newsom noted the state has not identified funding it could cut to pay the tab that it already hasn’t done to help close the state’s reported $54 billion budget deficit this year.

“Clearly, those executive orders do not meet the totality of need and the totality of requests that governors of all political stripes, mayors and the like, advocates and individuals, expected of the federal government,” he said.

He added, “There is no money sitting in the piggy bank of the previous CARES Act to be re-prioritized or reconstituted for this. It simply does not exist.”

Newsom also expressed confidence in the state’s legislature to put forward a solution on the end of the state’s eviction moratorium, scheduled to end this month. The state has “every hope and expectation” of drafting a framework to help extend the moratorium, he said.

“Ultimately, we hope to potentially expand it into the later part of this month their adopted rule on halting evictions, giving us a little more time,” he said.

The briefing came on the heels of the departure of Dr. Sonia Angell, director and state public health officer for the California Department of Public Health. Angell resigned from her role Sunday without explanation following a recent technical glitch that delayed the state’s reporting of COVID-19 data.

California’s Health and Human Services Agency has selected an acting health director and an acting public health officer to replace Angell, according to the Associated Press.

Asked Monday about Angell’s departure, Newsom did not answer whether he’d asked for her resignation, telling a reporter, “I try not to have personnel conversations in public.”

“I want to thank Dr. Angell for her leadership and her stewardship,” he said. “It’s one of those difficult things that when someone leaves you consider a friend, someone I respect, something that was a real champion of racial justice and social justice, which is one of the reasons she was brought into the administration.

“The decision is made and we’re moving on.”

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