Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, announced Thursday that he will introduce a 3-month extension to long-term federal unemployment insurance with a Republican co-sponsor and hopes for a procedural vote as soon as Jan. 6.
“This is not a program that people are leaving good jobs or not looking for jobs because they’re doing very well. This is just enough to keep people going, in some cases barely enough to keep people going,” he said.
Long-term unemployment benefits will expire on Saturday for 1.3 million unemployed Americans. By the middle of next year, 1.9 million more will be affected if benefits aren’t extended.
Mr. Reed said he plans to introduce the extension with Sen. Dean Heller, Nevada Republican. The short-term extension is not paid for in other parts of the budget because it’s considered an economic emergency, said Rep. Sander Levin, Michigan Democrat. The cost would just be tacked on to the deficit, something Republicans have refused to do in the past.
A 3-month extension will ensure benefits are not cut off for individuals and families in need, while giving lawmakers some time to have conversations about possible changes to the program and ways to pay for a long-term extension, Mr. Reed said.
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com