Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Compromise in the Senate
by Jessica Schieder, 3/14/2014
A bipartisan plan has been laid out to extend emergency unemployment benefits for five months, according to a press release made public by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).
With a crucial amount of Republican support, the legislation will likely be approved by the Senate, which is expected to vote on the bill during the week of March 24. The following Republicans have joined Democrats to support the bill: Dean Heller (D-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mark Kirk (R-IL). If you are from these states, please thank them.
As a part of the Senate compromise, the unemployment insurance program will be extended in exchange for cost savings and policy changes elsewhere, which pay for the approximately $10 billion in unemployment benefits:
- Changes to the way corporations contribute to workers’ pensions (referred to sometimes as “pension smoothing”)
- Extending fees on goods coming through U.S. customs
- Making the receipt of benefits conditional on the long-term unemployed participating in job training
- Excluding workers who made more than $1 million last year from receiving unemployment benefits
The Senate deal came as a surprise to some in Washington, with The Washington Post reporting “Unemployment insurance is back from the dead”. In reality, there was always at least one group of people for whom the unemployment extension demand never “died” – the hard-pressed Americans hurt by the expiration of this vital program, as well as their families and communities.
Advocates for extending emergency unemployment benefits have been engaged, persistent, and active. But this is only half the battle. It is unclear whether House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will allow a retroactive extension of emergency unemployment benefits. Stick with this and keep the pressure on.
The following are resources to make sure politicians continue to hear your voice on emergency unemployment compensation (EUC):
- Enter your zip code here, and you’ll be directed to a letter put together by the Half in Ten campaign urging your representative to support the unemployment extension when the issue comes up in the House.
- Call your representative using this number, provided by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME): 877-363-6141.
- Sign a petition to the White House, bringing the president’s attention to the issue and prompting a response, here. More than a thousand of you have signed in the last two days.
- Sign MoveOn.org’s petition to restore emergency unemployment insurance here.
- Share your story via our web form here, which we will share with representatives and journalists to highlight the urgency of renewing unemployment insurance.
- Join our Google Group to share stories and resources with others who are either unemployed or passionate about the issue.
- Find addresses, phone numbers, and contact information for federal and elected officials here.
- Stay in touch with the Center for Effective Government by signing up for our e-mail updates and action alerts here.
EDITOR'S NOTE (3/19/14):
Good afternoon, everyone,
I would like to take a moment and respond to concerns raised regarding this post.
The Center for Effective Government has discussed and looked into reports of harassment and spamming in the comments sections of this post. While looking into such complaints, it has been brought to my attention that certain comments were temporarily taken down for review.
In the interest of ensuring this space remain a safe place for individuals to share their experiences, opinions, and perspectives, we will be monitoring this blog especially closely now to ensure those interested in respectfully contributing to the discussion around emergency unemployment benefits are safe.
I look forward to supporting you all in continuing this important dialogue.
The stories shared by our readers have deeply moved us. Click the button below to view our "Emergency Unemployment Benefits Stories Page". We've featured stories from those impacted by the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits, as well as a counter reflecting the number of Americans impacted.
For Further Reading:
Emergency Unemployment Benefits Are Not Forgotten, The Fine Print blog, Feb. 26, 2014
Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Ways to Take Action, The Fine Print blog, March 6, 2014
Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Time to Petition the Government, The Fine Print blog, March 12, 2014
Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Compromise in the Senate, The Fine Print blog, March 14, 2014
Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Boehner Signals Reluctance in the House, The Fine Printblog, March 21, 2014
Emergency Unemployment Benefits Extension Clears First Hurdle in the Senate, The Fine Printblog, March 28, 2014
Extending Emergency Unemployment: Senate Finally Expected to Vote to Extend Benefits and Rush through Corporate Tax Cuts, The Fine Print blog, April 2, 2014
Emergency Unemployment Benefits Bill Passes the Senate, Increasing Pressure on the House, The Fine Print blog, April 8, 2014
Stories of Americans Cut Off of Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Government Matters, April 22, 2014
Emergency Unemployment Extension Expected to Take Back Seat to Tax Extenders, The Fine Print blog, April 25, 2014