For Unemployment Extension, All That’s Left Is Obama’s Signature
My colleague notes that the House just passed the Senate extension of federal unemployment benefits, as the Senate did last night. The bill now moves on to President Obama, who will likely sign the benefits into law today or tomorrow morning.
The package does not create new benefits, or re-up the $25-a-week Federal Additional Compensation, added to many employment insurance checks. Rather, the $34 billion bill restores benefits that sunsetted on June 2, and extends them through Nov. 30. Jobless workers can expect their checks in the next two to four weeks — depending on the state. The federal benefits come into effect after a worker has exhausted his state benefits, after 26 weeks, and provide up to 99 weeks of additional unemployment insurance — depending on the unemployment rate in the worker’s state.
The passage ends a two-month stalemate, with Senate and House Democrats attempting to push through a number of bills to restore benefits to 2.6 million Americans, as 300,000 a week lost their checks. Republicans did not object to extending benefits, but objected to adding to the deficit to supply them; Democrats pushed for emergency spending, not subject to normal paygo rules, hoping to add to the overall stimulus as the recovery sags.