Unemployment Extension Bill Coming Today
Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 10:33 am
So says the office of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who heads the Senate Finance Committee.
The bill would extend the filing deadline for the existing tiers of emergency unemployment benefits — not to be confused with the creation of additional tiers — through the end of 2010. Under current law, that deadline will arrive at the end of May, threatening to lock hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans into their current tier of benefits without the option of reaching the next level.
The Baucus bill — which will be released jointly by the House Ways and Means Committee — also includes emergency funding to extend COBRA benefits, to prevent Medicare doctors from being hit with a huge pay cut June 1, and to extend a tax credit encouraging mining companies to promote worker safety.
Additionally, the bill would “increase or eliminate” the cap on the Oil Spill Liability Trust fund, which is currently $1 billion.
Democrats will want to pass this package quickly (and the June 1 deadline on some of these provisions begs their urgency). But the bill has a long road ahead, as the appetite for deficit spending, particularly in the Senate, is at an historic low. And if Sen. Bob Bennett’s primary loss in Utah offered any warning to lawmakers up for re-election this year, it’s that voters — at least in some areas — have lost that spending appetite as well.
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