Open Congress reports that an extension of unemployment benefits, which was removed during the process of passing the economic stimulus package, may return to the Senate in the form of a stand-alone bill.
The bill (Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act) could pick up some momentum as it is being sponsored by Senator Kennedy (D-MA) who is always a major player in moving legislation forward.
Some highlights of the proposed legislation per Senator Kennedy’s press release:
- EXTENDS AND EXPANDS BENEFITS: Provides 20 more weeks of benefits to eligible workers with an additional 13 weeks in states with high unemployment. Benefits would be temporarily increased by $50 per week to help families with skyrocketing energy and food costs. Eligibility for the extension would last for one year.
- COVERS RECENT EXHAUSTEES: Provides benefits to unemployed workers who exhausted their regular benefits in the year prior to enactment.
- DOES NOT BURDEN STATES OR EMPLOYERS: Fully funds this temporary program to avoid forcing states to make spending cuts or increase taxes on employers.
Update (6/26): The Senate has passed an extension of unemployment benefits as part of the emergency war supplemental. The bill will now be sent to the President.
Update (11/20): The Senate has passed a further extension of unemployment benefits.