Reid, Baucus Unveil New Unemployment Measure

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Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) “introduced legislation today to reinstate federal unemployment insurance benefits and extend the purchase closing date for new homebuyers to qualify for tax credits,” according to a press release.

The legislation Reid and Baucus introduced today will retroactively reinstate federal unemployment insurance, so that Americans who lost their benefits when the program expired at the end of May can receive the support they need while they look for work.  And the bill will extend federal unemployment insurance benefits, so Americans who lose their jobs through no fault of their own can continue to receive the benefits they depend on through November 2010.

Additionally, the bill extends the date new homebuyers who are already under contract must close by to qualify for the Homebuyer Tax Credit from July 1 to October 30, 2010 so that more American homebuyers can benefit from this successful program.

Reid filed cloture on the bill this evening.  He also filled the “amendment tree,” which will prevent an open amendment-offering process from taking place.  Any amendments to the bill would have to be approved first by Senate leaders before being considered.

Here are the specific provisions within this legislation as provided by the release:

Unemployment Insurance

  • Extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program phased-out at the end of May 2010. This program provides (depending on a State’s unemployment rate) up to fifty-three (53) weeks of extended benefits. The bill would extend the EUC program through November 2010 and is retroactive.
  • Extension of Extended Benefits (EB) program – 100% Federal funding for the Extended Benefits (EB) program phased-out at the end of May 2010. This program provides up to an additional 13 to 20 weeks of benefits in certain States (i.e., 13 weeks for States at or above 6.5% unemployment and another 7 weeks for States at or above 8% unemployment). The bill would extend full funding for the EB program through November 2010.
  • Eliminating the penalty for part-time employment in the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program – The legislation coordinates EUC Benefits with regular Benefits by providing States with a number of options to allow EUC claimants to remain eligible for the EUC program when they become newly entitled to State unemployment compensation if switching to State benefits would reduce their weekly UI check by at least $100 or 25 percent.

The three provisions immediately above are estimated to cost $33.9 billion over ten years.

Homebuyer Tax Credit

  • Extension of Closing Date for Homebuyer Tax Credit – As part of the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, the homebuyer tax credit was expanded and extended to allow homebuyers to receive a tax credit for the purchase of a qualifying home through April 30, 2010. Homebuyers can benefit from the tax credit up to July 1, 2010 if they entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010 and close on the home within 60 days. This provision extends the closing date for homebuyers who entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, allowing them to be eligible for the tax credit if they close on the home before October 1, 2010. The provision is estimated to cost $140 million over ten years.

Other Provisions

  • Change to the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) – This provision delays the timing of when the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to transfer the initial set-up fee for the Travel Promotion Board.  The original act required DHS to begin transferring the $10 million initial set-up fee on January 1, 2010 and to complete the initial transfer by the end of fiscal year 2010.  The amended provision requires DHS to transfer monies collected as the money comes in with the completion of the initial transfer to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2011.  The change also delays by 1 year the dates upon which the Travel Promotion Board must begin matching funds DHS transfers to The Travel Promotion Corporation (from 2011 to 2012).  Therefore, instead of sunsetting in 2014, the fee collection sunsets in 2015.  This provision is estimated to save $95 million over ten years.

  • Disclosure of Prisoner Return Information to State Prison Officials – In June 2010, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report estimating that about 1,300 prison inmates (more than 90 percent of whom were state prison inmates) claimed and received more than $9 million in fraudulent first-time homebuyer tax credits. TIGTA’s report noted that, under current law, the IRS may exchange with officers and employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons certain tax return information with respect to prisoners whom the Secretary has determined may have filed or facilitated the filing of false or fraudulent tax returns. Current law allows the IRS to exchange information with State prison officials in limited circumstances. State prison authorities have stated that a cooperative effort is necessary to combat prisoner tax fraud. To permit effective tax administration, the bill would allow the IRS to disclose tax return information to officers and employees of State agencies charged with the administration of prisons. This provision is estimated to raise $6 million over ten years.
  • Rescissions to Appropriations Accounts – The amendment rescinds $94 million from non-Recovery Act Defense Department unobligated balances which will expire on September 30, 2010, and are excess to current requirements.  This provision is estimated to save $45 million over 10 years.

The cost estimates listed above are taken straight from the press release.

Update: According to the Huffington Post, this bill “is not paid for and would add roughly $33 billion to the deficit.”  A vote could take place “as soon as Wednesday.”

What about the chances for passage?  A spokesman “for the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said there was little chance of the bill being approved,” according to the New York Times.

Firedoglake has a different view:

By filing cloture, clearly Reid feels like he has 60 votes for this, despite the loss of Byrd. Olympia Snowe has signaled her willingness to pass a standalone UI bill, and the Senate voted for the homebuyer’s extension unanimously as an amendment to the original tax extenders bill, so that shouldn’t gum anything up. The 60 votes are probably out there, I’d say.

(credit image – daylife/associated press)

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18 Comments

Filed under Housing, Party Leadership, Tourism, Unemployment

18 responses to “Reid, Baucus Unveil New Unemployment Measure

  1. John

    With the war mongers we call leader who would rather have war than feed the poor Americans who will go hungry tonite while these fools comtreplate getting into another war we need action now i am afraid by November it will be to late to remove them first thing we need to do is audit all the senators and representaive for the take i beleive they are taking of the american people it needs to be an impartial party auditing them. they have taken so much money we know and they should call it treason and hang the quilty because they could be classified as war criminals

  2. Barry Silver

    Does it include $25/w federal stimulus? Stabenow did, McDermott in the house did not. Provided it gets through Senate, has Speaker committed to getting it done in the house?

  3. Another bill that isn’t paid for won’t get past the Republican filibuster. The Dems are holding up the unemployment extension as much as the Republicans.

    Both finds need to find a comprimise now as many have rent due this weekend and are already behind, because of all the back and forth childish politics.

    At this point being unemployed I could care less about the deficit, but also understand the Republicans stance on using unused stimulus funds. All I hear from the Dems is that it is there to create jobs. Where are the jobs it was suppose to create before? Tell us how it is going to be used to create jobs and maybe, just maybe you might get some Republicans jump to your side of the ship. If not I expect this bill to get blocked like all the rest.

    With the upcoming 4th of July weekend upon us, this politics as usual in DC is very disheartening for so many unemployed Americans. We will find little to celebrate as the stalemate in DC continues and we the average American suffer.

    I want jobs created and a bit more help while I tirelessly search for one. I would give the shirt off my back for my fellow American, but it doesn’t seem like my government would do the same thing for me.

    • Chris in Ohio

      I agree with you Eddie, both sides are playing games at a time when there is no game-playing left in those of us that are unemployed (and are actually seeking employment). Thanks for stating this so well.

  4. sam

    The poor are blessed lambs of God. People that are not poor are either in jail or rich.
    These Repubvlicans act like the government is paying the uemployed hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The country is becomming crueler and crueler what a shame.

  5. RayT

    This will never see the light of day, its not paid so what hell are they doing now. Its nothing more than a delay tactic.

  6. bob

    @Eddie:
    Even the conservative economists at the libertarian Cato Institute admit that the stimulus created more than 1 million jobs. We’ve lost nearly 10 million since Bush ruined our economy, so 1 million doesn’t feel like much.

    However, I submit that, to every one of those 1 million people who have jobs that would not have them were it not for the stimulus, the program was a success.

    • Where are those 1 million jobs now? Most of these jobs were temporary, census workers and road construction doesn’t last forever. My father was a construction laborer for over 30 years, these road jobs don’t last long and those workers end up right back amongst the unemployed once the job is completed. In my state those road constuction jobs came and went in a blink of an eye. The so-called sustainable jobs are not there as of yet. Most likely never will be ever again.

      We need those green energy jobs that were promised. A high speed rail system must be started. Outsoured work must be brought back for the American worker to have any chance of ever living a normal life again. Our education system must grow and higher education must be affordable for all. These so-called 1 million jobs have vanished and to my dismay I think the left over stimulus funds have too.

  7. John

    Use this poweful list below to email, call, fax, mail, Twitter, Facebook all these people daily. Then do the same thing for your state senators, governor, local/state/national media, mayor, congressman & city council members.

    Post this EXACT blog comment on EVERY blog, forum, website, & social media platform you see.

    Things we MUST do RIGHT now!
    1. Post the petition on your FaceBook
    2. Post the petition on your Twitter
    3. Post the petition on your Blog
    4. Post the petition on your Myspace
    5. Post the petition on your Website
    6. Post comments or make a video on YouTube
    7. ATTACK WITH FAXES!
    The President/Whitehouse FAX: (202) 456-2461
    The Vice President FAX: (202) 456-2461
    Nancy Pelosi Fax: (202) 225-8259
    Senator Harry Reid Fax: (202) 224-7327
    Senator Richard Durbin Fax: (202) 228-0400
    Senator Max Baucus Fax: (202)224-9412
    YES THIS ONE THE MOST
    Mitch McConnell (Sen. Minority Leader) Fax: (202) 224-2499
    Jon Kyl (Rep Whip) Fax: (202) 224-2207

    Then go sign up on as many petitions as you can.

  8. Net, net this bill saves $1B and change and adds $32Billion to the Unfunded National Debt

  9. Patricia Farden

    I found it hard to believe that some americans and representatives have the audacity to say the unemployed do not want to work. There are no jobs and for older americans it is even harder to locate employment, as there are several young people for each job that is applied for. The youth will always be hired first. Also the congress and the senate could never understand the americans who are suffering as they collect their fat paychecks and benefits and look down on Americans that have had to worry about survival. They can extend homeowner credits and bank bailouts, not to mention that we constantly help other countries, while people are losing everything. God forbid we should help our own. Also for other Americans who still have a job, are arrogant and condesending and judgemental. They should thank God it has not happened to them. There are families that have no other income and are searching for jobs. I think this great country had no problem spending money on things that are not as important as helping our own.

  10. SPARE ME

    PUT THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS…THAT ASSHO!LE WE ARE SUPPOSE TO CALL A PRESIDENT!!! HE HAS SCREWED THE UNEMPLOYED, THE PEOPLE IN THE GULF, AND NOW WE HAVE THE WAR IN “AFGANIS-NAM” PLEASE DEAR GOD, PUT THIS SON-A-B!TCH TO SLEEP!!!!

  11. The war in Afghanistan is not the war that should be worried about. That is a necessary evil, we must seek out those who attempt to destroy us. The Taliban at one time was headquartered there, but is now moved on to Pakistan and other locations where we must move onto next. A threat like the Taliban and other terrorist groups must be stopped and all money towards that effort will be worth it in the long run.

    The unnecessary war was in Iraq and with Saddam. Who was merely a dictator who destroyed his own people, but we felt he must be taken down, because he wouldn’t play nice with oil prices. The entire war in Iraq is a sham and we must leave. Give the country back to its residents. We took down the evil dictator, now lets them get back to what they’re best at, fighting amongst themselves.

    The blame goes much further back than President Obama. While he has not accomplished many of his promises this issue started well before him and will continue unless the people of America stand-up and be heard. We control this country with our voices and our votes. There are far too many Americans that don’t get involved with what is going on in DC until they are wronged by one thing that may or may not be passed. We must all pay much closer attention to our elected officials and what they do or don’t do on a daily basis. We the American people are partly to blame for these overwhelming problems.

  12. SUSAN STOKES

    ” We the American people demand that neither house of Congress nor …the president leave town until relief for the unemployed is passed!!!! by the end of this week, nearly 1.6 million will have lost their UI…and that the loss of this spendable income will further cripple an a…lready paralyzed economy…and destroy… many li…ves. Many of the desperate unemployed peoples blogs are on facebook many many unemployment and unemployment extensions pages and New York Department of labors page. You must all remember that come Nov we all can vote !!!!!!!!!!!!! “

  13. Chris

    I don’t understand how members of congress can go on recess while over a million Americans are now faced with how they are going to feed thier families. I bet our senators and Congressmen all have large picnics and festivities planned. Are we who are without our benefits, that we’ve worked so many years for, having large picnics? I know personally, I’ll worrying how I’m going to pay my next bill. Rent is due and I don’t have the money to pay it. Our elected officials need to come to some kind of comprimise. our livelyhood depends on it.

  14. Marman

    To Spare Me! You seem to have a problem with the President of the United States and he had nothing to do with all this sh.t that Bush caused while A..holes like you supported him through it all. The fact that millions of Americans are out of work should be the main concern for all (Dems and Reps) instead of placing blame. The President has done more in his first year than Bush accomplished in Eight. Now you come and blame Obama! The whole damn country is going to hell in a hand basket and we are overly concern about Americans purchasing homes and receiving a tax credit for doing so when unemployment is spiraling out of control and Americans are having a tough time feeding their families and avoiding foreclosure on their homes. Damn it; we need help and not finger pointing at this juncture. So Spare Me my man, if you are not a part of the solution; don’t be a part of the problem. At least try to see things for what it really is and quit taking the easy way out by blaming someone that you just can’t get used to being in charge. We can count on people like you to get our wonderful President re-elected with no problem. You give him credit fo everything!!

  15. Lee

    All I can say at this point, because it has gone far beyond the point of reason and human decency is…God help this country because it has gone straight to hell in a hand basket….Satan himself has hold of it and it looks like Congress is in bed with him.

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