Reid Acknowledges Need to Extend Jobless Benefits Program
The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged today that, in order for people to access the full 20 weeks of additional jobless benefits enacted last week, Congress will have to extend the underlying program before year’s end.
“It is true that we will need to extend the program before the end of the year in order for unemployed workers in high unemployment states to get access to the full 20 weeks of benefits,” a Reid aide wrote in an email.
The Democrats’ bill offers 14 weeks of additional unemployment benefits nationwide, with an extra six weeks for those living in states with high unemployment. But an end-of-the-year filing deadline would prevent anyone from getting those additional six weeks unless Congress steps in to extend the deadline.
The deadline issue wasn’t addressed in the recent legislation, the aide added, because lawmakers were focused simply on adding the extra weeks — a much different (and much cheaper) proposition than extending the entire program. They didn’t anticipate that the process would drag on as long as it did, the aide said.
Some Democrats are already urging a broad extension of the underlying unemployment extension. Reid’s office said Tuesday that the majority leader will likely get behind that push.
“I would expect that Senator Reid would move to extend the program before the end of the year,” the aide said.