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A Bill for the 99ers (and Other Exhaustees)

August 5, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

As announced last night on the Ed Schultz show, Sen. Debbie Ann Stabenow [D, MI] has introduced legislation that would provide additional weeks of unemployment benefits payments for people who have reached the end of what is currently available to them in their state. The bill, which she’s calling it the Americans Want to Work Act, would also extend and strengthen tax credits for employers that hire people who have been out of work for some time.

The bill had 9 original co-sponsors as it was introduced, including the three most powerful Democrats in the Senate — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV], Democratic Whip Dick Durbin [D, IL] and Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair Chuck Schumer [D, NY].

This is, obviously, good news for the millions of unemployed Americans who have exhausted all of the unemployment benefits available to them and to those who may exhaust their benefits in the future without having found work. And it’s not a second too soon. With people like Tim Geithner predicting that the unemployment rate will go up again before it goes down, it’s clear that jobs are becoming harder to find at the same time that people who lost their jobs in the scramble following the 2008 financial meltdown are reaching the end of their lifeline.

Noticeably missing from the bill is any kind of a plan to offset the deficit impact of the additional weeks of unemployment benefits and the business hiring incentives. As I noted Monday, support in Congress for extending unemployment insurance benefits without offsetting the costs has progressively weakened over the past couple years. The most recent round of extensions took more than a month for the Senate to pass and pushed them to what seemed like their absolute limit for unpaid-for extensions. Stabenow’s bill is different — it would add additional weeks, not extend the filing deadline for the existing tiers — but the same dynamics would almost certainly apply. I don’t know how this passes without a revenue plan.

Here’s the summary from Stabenow’s office (as the official legislative text has not yet been made available, this is about all we know):

Tier 5 – Unemployment Insurance

  • What it Does: Provides 20 weeks of additional unemployment insurance for states with 7.5% or higher unemployment. This tier will benefit the people who have exhausted all of their benefits.
  • Retroactive Eligibility: Would apply retroactively to everyone who has exhausted all of their previous tiers in recent months. However, benefits would not be paid retroactively. (Example – If you exhausted your benefits 3 months ago, you would be eligible to begin your Tier 5 at the date of enactment. You would not, however, be paid out for the 3 months in which you did not receive benefits. If you are going to exhaust your benefits in 2 weeks, you will move right onto Tier 5 and receive your 20 weeks).
  • Requirements: People who are unemployed still need to meet current UI law requirements such as job searches.

One Year Extension of the HIRE Act Payroll Tax Exemption & Incentives for Businesses to Hire the Hardest Hit Americans

  • HIRE Act Background: The HIRE Act, signed into law earlier this year, provides two new tax incentives for employers to hire unemployed workers. Under the HIRE Act, businesses that hire Americans who have been out of work for at least 60 days are exempt from paying their 6.2 percent share of Social Security payroll taxes for all new hires up to the FICA wage cap of $106,800. To promote long-term employment, the HIRE Act also provides an additional $1,000 general business tax credit for each worker retained for at least one year.
  • Americans Want to Work Act Provisions: The bill includes two key provisions that apply to all states:

    •  Extends the successful HIRE Act Payroll Tax Exemption for one year, through the end of 2011.
    • Doubles the general business tax credit, from $1,000 to $2,000, for businesses that hire (and retain for 52 weeks) someone who has exhausted all unemployment benefits. This is applicable to anyone who has exhausted all unemployment benefits or that is eligible for Tier 5. This would be effective at the date of enactment.
  • Evidence the HIRE Act Payroll Tax Exemption is Working: Recent reports from the Treasury Department show that from February to June of 2010, businesses hired approximately 5.6 million new workers who had been unemployed for eight weeks or more.  Businesses have already received potential tax savings of $10.4 billion ($6.2 billion in payroll tax reductions, $4.2 billion in tax credits) from the HIRE Act Payroll Tax Exemption.
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Comments

Displaying 31-58 of 58 total comments.

  • Abaratarrr 08/06/2010 9:40pm
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    this is just freaking great they are now using tax payer money to train foreigners to do our jobs.

    “a hand-picked Obama appointee has launched a $36 million program to train workers, including 3,000 specialists in IT and related functions, in South Asia

    Following their training, the tech workers will be placed with outsourcing vendors in the region that provide offshore IT and business services to American companies looking to take advantage of the Asian subcontinent’s low labor costs. "

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/integration/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=226500202

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    Kerlynne 08/09/2010 2:15pm
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    + -1

    this sucks!

  • noel132321 08/07/2010 5:22am

    Hello everybody I am a member of this new site for the unemployed it is called Unemployedstatesofamerica.webs.com. If anybody needs info on this and other info regarding the unemployed please feel free to go to our website and talk, vent and if you have any ideas we will listen and if you have and problems with anything we can also help you with that.

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 08/09/2010 2:18pm
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    + -1

    I could not get this web site to work. It just went to the companies website??>!!

  • saturnsc2 08/08/2010 6:23am
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    + -1

    i live in ohio & am trying to file for my weekly benefits. the computer system gives me a technical error message:

    Error Page

    Error Message:
    “An unexpected database error has occurred that has prevented your request from being processed. Please try your request again. If you continue to experience difficulty in processing your request, please contact your processing center”

    this is really fucking annoying. when i try to call up i get the same message that there was a technical problem completing my request. is anybody else in ohio having the same problem or is it just me?

  • Comm_reply
    soapever 08/08/2010 7:40am
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    + -1

    saturnsc2- I have been getting that same error message for 12 hours now.

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    rileymartin 08/08/2010 7:45am
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    + -1

    I’ve been getting the same thing also. I wonder if it’s all of Ohio?

  • saturnsc2 08/08/2010 8:15am
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    + -1

    well i feel better now seeing it’s just the site. i always jump to conclusion that i’m being denied benefits when something like this happens. can’t blame a person for being a little paranoid these days. just keep trying all the way through tomorrow. what sucks is we all will probably have to be on hold tomorrow for an hour running up our cell phone minutes to talk to a real person to file our weeks because the dam site is down. oh well. anyway, i can’t wait to see what happens with the new bill for the 99ers & us eventually. if it passes it will give me some more breathing room as i continue to seek work. i’m currently an 89er now…

  • saturnsc2 08/08/2010 9:50am
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    ok fellow Ohioans i was just able to file my weekly benefits online at 2:50pm est. try yours now maybe the site’s back up now or i was just lucky…

  • saturnsc2 08/09/2010 6:37am
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    + -1

    is anybody going to vote on this bill soon or is it just going to be left on the roadside? the senate is out until sept, but the house can vote right??

  • eavina30 08/09/2010 9:28am
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    + -1

    http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/the_99ers_need_a_tier_v_added_to_unemployment_benefits

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cRYRs1o9J0&feature=related

    Tier 5 to Survive, In November we will Remember

  • Kerlynne 08/09/2010 2:09pm
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    + -1

    THIS IS GREAT… until you look at it closely. The reason the last one hardly passed was because they were looking for funding. Where and what are they going to do? Secondly,I think the tax incentives should be tiered. If the incentive is for someone that is only 8 weeks unemployed and they get this large amount why don’t they have it more for the person that hasn’t found a job in a year??
    That part needs to be looked at more closely.

  • Abaratarrr 08/09/2010 2:28pm

    WE are in trouble ,
    pelosi said that she is not going to allow a vote on 3706 until after the election the house is voting this week to not return until january, that would mean there will be no vote until January at the soonest. That means no help for the unemployed until march of 2011 at the soonest we can not let that happen.

    please leave Nancy Pelosi a message at
    (415) 556-4862 & (202) 225-4965.
    Please be nice we want them to want to help us

    they are in session this week, if pelosi will allow a vote on companion legislation for 3706 it will pass, Its up to Nancy at this point, please call her at least once a day. She graciously called the house back in session to help government employees and people with union jobs she can help us too while they are there. she could add 3706 as an amendment to 1586 tomorrow it would be guaranteed to pass. All we need is for one congressperson to attach 3706 to 1586.

  • Comm_reply
    bcarney 08/11/2010 2:40am
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    + -1

    Now do you really believe this would be an emergency extension to help the desperate if they will not even allow a vote until next year? Please wake up, this is part of a political campaign. They think if they wave a carrot in front of our faces that we will be less likely to vote them out. These people are just addressing an issue that is getting more media attention. What’s sad is that it is a feable attempt to act as if they care or are going to do something. We (99ers) have already been without since March of 2010 so waiting a year is not relief at all. We have already lost everything and nothing left to lose but our lives and waiting a year for a decent meal will ensure that we don’t have that either.

  • bcarney 08/11/2010 2:41am
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    + -1

    How dare Pelosi say that voting will not be allowed until January? This is another means of blocking any bill for the 99ers is all. By creating it, they show other Americans that they care but by blocking it and not building on it to provide a feasible means of funding for it is just like not creating it in the first place. Why bother if it will not be voted on until next year? We will have to survive the best way that we know how. Watch out because America is about to get really chaotic, believe that! That’s one thing you can bank on. Stop thanking these people before they have done anything.

  • bcarney 08/11/2010 2:42am
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    + -1

    They have done nothing but kibbbles and bits since this recession. Why do you think this bill was mysteriously in the works just as they are going on vacation? All of this a smoke screen and a strategy, by no means do they plan on ever increasing the amount of weeks for unemployment insurance. They collectively feel that we are bums and lazy, and this is why there will only be a minority of them who will take up the issue every now and then. However, their theory of us being lazy because of our unemployment checks went out the window when our benefits exhausted six months ago!! What is there excuse now for us not being able to obtain employment while we have no means for supporting ourselves? It’s just one excuse after another. Do they really think that we would hold on for six months or a year to wait for another unemployment extension rather than work?

  • bcarney 08/11/2010 2:47am
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    + -1

    Most of the 99ers benefits ran out in March of 2010 and these same people are still unemployed. Why doesn’t someone bring this matter up before them to prove that their theory of our laziness being a result of collecting unemployment insurance, is dead wrong??? I am interested to see what they say next for an excuse not to help the one’s who have paid their salaries for years.

  • saturnsc2 08/11/2010 4:16pm
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    + -1

    has anybody heard about this, i’m surprised it ain’t posted here:
    August 11, 2010 Update
    Friends, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV), introduced legislation that would create a 20-week Tier V for states with an unemployment rate of 10% or higher. http://berkley.house.gov/2010/08/new-berkley-bill-extends-unemployment-help-to-nevadans-who-have-exhausted-benefits.shtml. This differs from the Senate bill that would create a Tier V for states with rates of 7.5% or higher. While there are differences in these two approaches, the good news is that there is now Tier V legislation pending in both Houses of Congress. We will keep you posted on any further progress of these pieces of legislation.

  • Comm_reply
    bcarney 08/12/2010 2:51pm
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    + -1

    The only problem with that is Berkley’s proposal only covers 16 states. Check the Labor of Statistics and see exactly what states are above 10% or higher. We (NJ) is at 9.6, which is extremely high and remember that they don’t count us 99ers. Does this mean that we are not worthy of help, also? This is just ridiculous, like I said in a previous post “kibbles and bits” to keep the debate going and prolonging any passage of a Tier V. If we have to wait six months longer, many of us will be dead and won’t need help. WTF- is this really all about. They know what is required for any legislation to be voted on and that is funding, so where is it?

  • bcarney 08/12/2010 2:51pm
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    + -1

    This is all a big smoke screen. I am sorry and I am just as hopeful as the next person but a reality check from experience tells me different. I would appreciate something substantial but I can’t find it anywhere. It seems the rally on Wall Street wasn’t very effective either. However, I do commend those 99ers for their efforts and courage because they were publicly ridiculed. I imagine many 99ers would have liked to have been their but we are 99ers, meaning we have no income at all so travel is pretty much out of the question. God bless all the 99ers, keep praying, faxing, writing, emailing, interviewing, signing petitions, and calling. There is a higher power at work and something will happen soon but we must help ourselves as well. Keep looking for those jobs no matter what. Good luck!

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  • jakj1 08/24/2010 7:14am

    Keep in mind they will not start the battle in the Senate now because if it gets drawn out like the last extension did then it will make them look like assholes. They will wait until they are re-elected and then vote the bill down. I hope everyone remembers who voted not to pass the last extension and votes these assholes out of office. Millions of children did not eat in this country while the Senate was on not one but two breaks (vacation). I am going to do everything I can do to help the 99ers. I recently to was with out any money while the Senate dicked around with the recent extension and I know what it feels like not to eat so my kids could eat, so I can only imagine what the 99ers are going through. Polosi is a bitch and she should be fired for not voting on this bill until after the November election. This is nothing short of political bull shit!!! Vote them out in NOVEMBER!!! There not going to do anything for us anyway. Why pay them for nothing???

  • jakj1 08/24/2010 7:18am

    Take note of my profile picture, the SHARK is our goverment, and the little fish are the American people. It’s about time that we become the SHARK, and start eating, and shitting out all the lying, cheating, and corrupt politicians in our so called for the people goverment!!

  • dtatsch 09/10/2010 6:06am

    Guess what, life is hard. Put your problems before GOD. Stop relying on government to keep you going. Do not vote for this bill. It will not help, just extend your current situation. Stand up and fight for yourself. Get a job, any job. Wash cars, clean floors, work for less but go to bed feeling tired from a good days work. Go back to the basics and stop living above your means. Put you life in GODS hands and have faith and you will see improvement. But you must help yourself and stop relying on working people to foot the bill. The government is funded by Americans that pay taxes and large corp. that have pull. But believe me, these large corps. get something in return. Let’s instigate change and stop this merry go round for the rich and famous and the politicians. We are getting what we voted for……

  • MrJonson 10/06/2010 8:40pm

    This is not Put American’s Back to Work— this is save the Retail Business Collapse. They will pass this just in time for the Holiday Shopping period; they do this every year— to appease Walmart, Target, and Others.

  • frukit 12/06/2010 3:50pm

    Does Anyone In Our Government Know That We Need: Roads Repaired, Bridges Repaired, A New Alternative Energy System Built, Exsisting Power Plants Repaired, New Nuclear Power Plants Built, Water Treatment Plants Built And / Or Upgraded.We Need Billions of Tax Dollars Spent On INFRASTRUCTURE Of These United States.Do You Think That It Would Be Hard, For Our Elected Officials To Take The Necessary Steps, To Employ AMERICANS To WORK On OUR OWN COUNTRY.We Do Have To Live Here,You Know!!-BILLIONS FOR THE WAR MACHINE, NO MONEY FOR THE HOME TEAM ?-WTF

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