Update: House passes bill: Unemployment: House to consider McDermott UE Extension Bill this week…
Update: 10/5: Schumer says Senate will extend UE this week see here for update
Update: 9/22/09 7:43 pm EST: The bill, HR 3548 passes the House:
Jobless workers in imminent danger of losing their unemployment benefits would get a 13-week reprieve under legislation approved by the House on Tuesday.
The House bill, which applies to 27 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico with unemployment rates of 8.5 percent or higher, would add to the already-record levels of benefits that have been available to the jobless as the country struggles to recover from its prolonged economic malaise.
It would not, however, give any extra benefits to the longtime unemployed in states that have lower levels of joblessness, including Nebraska, North Dakota and Utah.
The bill passed easily, 331-83, although the two parties cast the measure in different lights. Democrats said the relief was still needed despite positive signs that their policies were reviving the economy. Republicans said the high jobless rate proved that the Obama administration’s economic strategies weren’t working.
Now the Senate has to pass ITS bill: ‘Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.’
Our previous post on the bill here
A scaled down McDermott (D-WA) sponsored UE extension bill to be considered by the House this week.
The measure sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott , D-Wash., would allow 13 extra weeks of benefits for workers in states where the unemployment rate has surpassed 8.5 percent. That would come on top of the emergency extensions approved in last year’s supplemental spending bill and this year’s stimulus.
What it covers: (continues after the break):
Currently, unemployed workers in all states are eligible to collect up to 46 weeks of benefit checks, and those in states where the jobless rate is at least 6 percent can collect up to 59 weeks’ worth. Jobless workers in 47 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, currently qualify for longer period of benefits; Nebraska and North and South Dakota are the only states to have maintained an unemployment rate under 6 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Workers in 26 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, would qualify for an extra 13 weeks of benefits under McDermott’s bill. The cost of the additional weeks will be entirely assumed by the federal government, which is also reimbursing states for the full cost of the existing emergency benefits still being paid out.
Some 5 million people, about one-third of those on the unemployment list, have been without a job for six months or more, a record since data started being recorded in 1948, according to the research and advocacy group National Employment Law Project.
The jobless rate currently stands at 9.7 percent and is likely to hover above 10 percent for much of 2010. Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said at the Finance Committee hearing that, according to Labor Department figures, 51 percent of unemployment insurance claimants exhausted their regular benefits in July, the highest rate ever. “It is likely the exhaustion rate will continue to increase in coming months” as the unemployment rate continues to rise, he said. Stettner predicted that Congress will likely have to continue extending jobless benefits through 2011.
How this bill differs from what McDermott originally proposed:
McDermott in July introduced a more ambitious bill that would have extended through 2010 the compensation programs included in the stimulus act. Those benefits are now scheduled to expire at the end of this year.
But with a price tag of up to $70 billion, that bill would have been far more difficult to pass. McDermott instead decided to offer the scaled-down 13-week extension to meet the urgent needs of those seeing their benefits disappear this year.McDermott said his bill would not add to the deficit because it would extend for a year a federal unemployment tax of $14 per employee per year that employers have been paying for more than 30 years. It would also require better reporting on newly hired employees to reduce unemployment insurance overpayments.
Everyone got that? They cannot pass a UE extension/expansion bill b/c they say IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE! But they can keep trying to ram health care down our throats? Unreal.
Three-fourths of the 400,000 workers projected to exhaust their benefits this month live in high unemployment states that would qualify for the additional 13 weeks of benefits under his bill, McDermott said.
Alabama, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia….
What about the other states?
Other states could qualify for more benefits if their unemployment rates are approaching the 8.5 percent threshold