Stabenow’s Standalone UI Extension Bill
This week, the Senate might turn to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)’s standalone bill to continue federally extended unemployment insurance benefits.* The jobs bill, also known as H.R. 4213 or the extenders package, that included the extension along with a number of other provisions failed to move forward to a vote last week. Since the beginning of June, approximately 1.2 million Americans have lost their extended UI benefits. Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Al Franken (Minn.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) are cosponsors. TWI spoke with Stabenow and Brown on the issue last week.
The bill includes a $25-a-week supplement dropped as Democrats pared the jobs bill back to meet the requirements of moderate deficit hawks, none of whom ultimately voted for the bill. It does not create any new tiers of unemployment benefits, instead restoring Tier IV benefits to the jobless. (Congress added or expanded Tiers I through IV last year, as part of its stimulus plan.)
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who refused to cross the aisle for the jobs bill — objecting to, among other things, the closing of a tax loophole for “S corporations” — has said she will vote for a standalone UI bill. She urged Senate Democrats to take one up last week.
** Correction: In an earlier version of this post, I said that Stabenow plans to introduce the measure today. She actually already introduced it, and the Senate plans to move on it this week, though the schedule is still in flux. I apologize for the error.*