Unemployment Extension Update - November 14th

Unemployment Extension Update – November 14, 2011

There are two separate unemployment extensions being discussed in Congress at the moment:

  • HR 3346 – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2011
  • HR 589 – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act of 2011

While they have similar names, the two pieces of legislation are quite different. We highlight the details, and how they might impact you, below.


HR 3346 – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2011

Federal unemployment benefits — the unemplyoment benefits you receive after the 26 weeks of Regular Benefits are exhausted — are set to expire on December 31, 2011. If this happens, as many as 2 million unemployed Americans will lose benefits in January 2012.

Last week, legislation was introduced that would extend these benefits through the end of 2012. As a reminder, these federally-funded unemployment benefits provide anywhere from 34 to 73 weeks of additional unemployment insurance after state-funded regular benefits run out.

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The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act has support in Congress, and will definitely receive more attention in the coming weeks. If history is a guide, given the extensions that passed in the last two years, it seems likely that this bill will pass, even if it happens after the December 31st deadline.


HR 589 – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act of 2011

As mentioned, the Federal unemployment benefits provide extensions resulting in a total of up to 99 weeks of unemployment insurance. That said, millions of American workers have exhausted the total number of available weeks.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act, sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee, would
add an additional 14 weeks of benefits for those who have already received the maximum number of weeks of Federal unemployment benefits.

Also referred to as “Tier 5″, this expansion of benefits has been discussed over the last several months, but has yet to gain the necessary support in Congress. The most recent efforts made by Representative Barbara Lee and her co-sponsors have attempted to incorporate this legislation into the President’s jobs bill.


We will continue to keep you updated on both pieces of legislation, as well as The American Jobs Act.

Tier 5 Unemployment Extension - Will Congress Listen to the 99ers?


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?