Background: H.R. 589 — The “Tier 5 Bill”
On February 9th of this year, Representatives Barbara Lee (California) and Bobby Scott (Virginia) introduced H.R. 589.
- The bill proposes an additional 14 weeks of unemployment benefits for Americans who have exhausted both their regular unemployment benefits as well as the additional tiers of unemployment extensions.
- Over 1.5 million Americans would stand to benefit from the extension.
- If passed, the bill would cost between $14 and $20 billion dollars.
How a Vote Would Happen
- Currently, the bill is tied up with the House Ways & Means Committee.
- In order for H.R. 589 to be voted on by the House of Representatives, it must leave the Ways & Means Committee. This can happen one of two ways: 1. the Committee votes or 2. the head of the Ways & Means Committee provides a waiver.
- H.R. 589 has 80 “co-sponsors” – referring to the other Congressional representatives who support the unemployment extension bill. As it currently stands, all of the co-sponsors are Democrats.
- Despite having the support of 80 members of Congress, the Bill has not received much attention in the Ways & Means Committee because the Committee is controlled by Republicans. They do not support the bill because of the additional costs.
Timing of the Bill?
Having spoken with the offices of both Representative Barbara Lee and Representative Bobby Scott this week, we are told that they are still working diligently to receive attention for H.R. 589, but that the timing of a vote is unclear.
What do YOU think?
- Will Congress listen to the 99ers?
- What will you do if your benefits expire?
- How should the government help promote job growth?
You will often hear in the news about the 99 weeks of unemployment extension benefits. While this is indeed the case in “most” states, some states offer fewer weeks of benefits.
The number of weeks available in your state depends on the jobless rate in your state. In addition, not all states offer Extended Benefits (“EB”), which kick in after your regular benefits, and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“EUC”) expire.
Take a look at the chart below to find the number of weeks available in your state. (Data from Labor Department)
Do you think it’s fair that some states receive more weeks than others?
Feel free to share your thoughts on unemployment extensions below…
As unemployment benefits expire, many people are aksing about a “Tier 5″ extension.
If implemented, a Tier 5 would add additional weeks of unemployment benefits. To date, the previous extensions passed by Congress this year have only extended eligibility for existing tiers, enabling you to receive up to a maximum of 99 weeks in most states. The 2010 extensions have not added any additional weeks to the total available.
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Many people have already exhausted their 99 weeks (or their state maximium), but are in need of further assistance.
Tier 5 Extension – New Proposal Introduced
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow introduced new legislation during the first week of August that formally brings the Tier 5 discussion in front of Congress. Here are the highlights of the propsal:
- The bill would add an additional 20 weeks of benefits for people who have had their benefits expire.
- The proposal would require that the unemployment rate in your state must at least 7.5% in order to qualify.
- Also included in the proposal are tax breaks for business owners who hire
- The new legislation has not yet been voted upon.
- Members of Congress are on recess through September 12th.
- The Senate will next address the proposal upon their return in September.