Senators reach deal that would extend unemployment benefits for 5 months

Bill would help more than 52,000 Ohioans who already have lost aid.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Mar 13, 2014

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and a group of eight other senators have reached a bipartisan deal that would help more than two million job seeking Americans who have lost emergency unemployment insurance (UI) coverage since December 28, 2013, including more than 52,000 Ohioans.

Led by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada), the agreement would reauthorize emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for five months. In addition to Brown and Portman, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ark.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). The plan would allow for retroactive payments to eligible beneficiaries going back to Dec. 28.

“Today, we reached a bipartisan deal to extend unemployment insurance for thousands of Ohio workers,” Brown said. “Too many of these Ohioans paid into unemployment insurance while they were working, but were left without a critical lifeline when they needed it due to congressional action. This deal will ensure that Ohioans who work hard and take responsibility will have the resources they need to take care of their families while looking for a new job.”

This new legislation would boost the U.S. economy while providing job seekers and their families a vital lifeline as they continue to look for work. The proposal is fully paid-for using a combination of offsets that includes extending “pension smoothing” provisions from the 2012 highway bill (MAP-21), which were set to phase out this year, and extending customs user fees through 2024. The bill also includes an additional offset allowing single-employer pension plans to prepay their flat rate premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

“This agreement is the first step toward reforming a broken program into a safety net that helps the unemployed quickly reenter the workforce and get back on their feet,” Portman said. “I’m especially pleased we were able to find a way to pay for the extension so that we’re not adding to our record debt. The president called for a ‘year of action’ and I hope that in the months to come, as we look for a long-term solution, he joins us in proposing significant reforms to this program.”

Further, the legislation includes a provision modeled on Sens. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) and Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) language that ends unemployment insurance payments to any individual whose adjusted gross income in the preceding year was $1 million or more.  According to 2010 income tax data, there were 0.03% of filers that earned more than $1 million and received some form of UI at either the state or federal level. This provision received unanimous support in the Senate when it was voted on in 2011.

The legislative proposal also includes language championed by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to strengthen reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) and ReEmployment Services (RES) programs. In an effort to help get job seekers back into the workforce, individuals receiving emergency unemployment compensation will be eligible for enhanced, personalized  assessments and referrals to reemployment services when they begin their 27th week of UI (Tier I) and 55th week of UI (Tier III).

The bill must pass with 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Earlier this year, Brown released county-by-county data on the number of Ohioans who lost their unemployment insurance after 2013. For Huron County, that number was 306. In total, more than 52,000 Ohioans were immediately stripped of their Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits as a result of an extension not passing or their 63 weeks of eligibility for the program expiring. By the end of 2014, another 76,000 Ohioans could lose their emergency unemployment insurance if a long-term extension is not passed.

The EUC program was authorized by Congress in 2008 and has supported nearly 69 million Americans, including almost 17 million children. In 2012, unemployment benefits helped keep about 2.5 million Americans further away from poverty, which included 600,000 children. Just in Ohio:

·         More than 790,000 Ohioans have received EUC benefits between 2008 and 2013;

·         If unemployment insurance is not extended, more than 128,000 Ohioans would lose their benefits, including 52,000 who have already lost benefits;

·         Since 2008, more than 6,500 Ohio jobs have been saved due to EUC benefits;

·         The average weekly unemployment benefits in Ohio is $318; and

·         The maximum weekly unemployment benefits in Ohio is $413.

Comments

Contango

Comrade Sen. Brown: “Too many of these Ohioans paid into unemployment insurance while they were working,"

Comrade Sen. Brown is mistaken; this emergency unemployment ins. is a "loan" from the federal govt. to the State of Ohio.

Unemployment ins. is collected from employers. Employees do not pay into it.

Also, this legislation does NOTHING for the self-employed.

rickross2

This is as dumb as Obama wanting to send a billion dollars to Ukraine. We're broke, sorry, ask someone else for money.

Foodforthought

Brown's statement not true??.. LOL, that is because he has his head so far up obama's you know what LOL He is a joke. Remember folks, obama flew him on a private jet from Ohio to DC just so he could vote for obamacare.

MiddleRight

Ironic the Brown would vote for legislation to cover the unemployed that he helped create by voting for Obamacare!

truckin

WOW..
the non-working by choice or not there choice (but, quickly convinced "choice"), gov. employees local, state, federal and union employees, and minimum wage workers.
Taken care of and guarantee votes!

All others.. private sector worker, self employed, religion non-profits..
pay....Pay.....PAY!!!!!!
be servants or get squashed!
Where in history have i seen the same thing??

Contango

@ truckin:

The coming taxpayer fiscal apocalypse:

Under funded and over promised public employee pension plans.

"Public Pension Red Alert":

http://online.wsj.com/news/artic...

(If necessary, copy and past the above title into Google and click on a link to get you past the filters.)

truckin

It's ok! I drive around all day while listening to sirrus talk shows/news channel/debates..
So much going on.
It's not really anyone's fault per say.
Most people just don't have time/access/or passion to get all the info of whats going on. Heck so much, i have a real hard time speaking of all the unbelievable stuff i hear.
BUT i will tell you, doesn't matter where i go. EVERYONE i run into (which are employed workers) these same conversations come up and many very vocal and loud. Just most are still afraid to speak out as to not offend..
...i am sick of it and don't care.. truth hurts and when you speak the truth no one can dispute it...just call you names..amazing?

Contango

Re: "It's not really anyone's fault per say."

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

- Hanlon's razor

jack langhals

Another Campaign Ploy !