Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has “introduced a bill to provide extra weeks of federally paid-for unemployment insurance benefits for the 99ers — the pool of 1.4 million Americans workers who have exhausted their maximum weeks of federal and state benefits,” the Washington Independent reports.
The Americans Want to Work Act brings the maximum number of weeks to 119 in states with unemployment rates above 7.5 percent, meaning 34 states and the District of Columbia would currently qualify. (As of now, the states with unemployment rates over 8 percent qualify for the federal extension.) It also bolsters a tax credit for companies that hire workers who have been unemployed for more than two months.
Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Dodd (Conn.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Harry Reid (Nev.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) are cosponsors.
Update (9/29): Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) objected to an attempt by Senator Stabenow to unanimously pass this bill. He said Republican members were unclear as to how much the legislation would cost and how it would be paid for. Senator Stabenow said these unemployment provisions constituted emergency spending.
(credit image – daylife/associated press)