In a near party-line vote, the North Carolina House of Representatives gave preliminary approval to a bill that would harm many of the state's more vulnerable citizens by cutting back on unemployment insurance. The measure would cut maximum weekly benefits by one-third, bringing the top weekly payout to $350, and reduce the maximum length an unemployed worker can get from 26 weeks to 20. As the bill currently stands, 80,000 workers are set to lose unemployment insurance payments.
A study released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that 400,000 jobs could be lost if Congress fails to extend the federally funded extended Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits program when it expires at the end of 2012. Unemployment benefits not only provide a lifeline to unemployed workers struggling to get by, but also provide critical support for the economy. According to EPI, “economists widely recognize that extending unemployment benefits is one of the most effective tools for generating jobs in a downturn” because cash-strapped jobless workers immediately spend their UI benefits, and this spending generates activity throughout the economy. EPI finds that if Congress refuses to extend UI, the unemployment rate will be 0.3% higher next year than it will be if Congress continues the program.
After reviewing unilateral changes Georgia made to its unemployment insurance (UI) rules, the U.S. Department of Labor has declared that the state has no “adequate statutory basis” for denying UI benefits to seasonal employees who work for private contractors providing services to schools. The strongly-worded guidance to Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler came in an Aug. 2 letter obtained by the Atlanta Constitution Journal and publicized in their front page story: State ordered to reverse itself on some unemployment claims.
The House (293-132) and the Senate (60-36) passed legislation today to extend federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and the payroll tax cut. UI benefits were set to expire Feb. 29 and the legislation that President Obama will sign extends the program for the nation’s nearly 13 million jobless workers through the end of the year.
Andy Richards on our Field Communications staff sends us this.
Many state legislatures have gone back into session this week and some state lawmakers aren’t looking to create badly needed jobs. Instead, the first item on their agenda is to attack jobless workers and their families.
Congress this morning extended for two months unemployment insurance (UI) for America’s jobless workers. Republicans in the House earlier this week had blocked the UI extenstion, but after suffering badly in opinion polling, they announced they’d join with 89 out of 100 senators from both political parties who’d already voted to renew unemployment aid for two months—with no cuts and no strings attached.
When House Republicans left town for the holidays Wednesday, they didn’t even leave behind a piece of coal in the stockings of some 2.8 million jobless workers whose unemployment benefits are about to expire over the course of the next two months. At least a piece of coal can be burned for heat.
UPDATE: The Republican-controlled House Rules Committee early Tuesday morning voted to block a full House vote on the bipartisan Senate compromise that extends unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for the long-term jobless. The current program expires Dec. 31.
House Republicans tonight are expected to reject a bipartisan Senate compromise that extends unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for the long-term jobless and also extends the payroll tax cut for workers and employers. Without House approval, the UI benefits and tax cut expire Dec. 31.