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Unemployment Insurance Cuts in the Latest Deal

February 15, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

It’s not official yet, but it appears that Democrats and Republicans in Congress are on the verge of striking a deal on extending the payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance benefits. While the payroll tax holiday would be continued in its current form under the deal, the policies governing extended unemployment insurance for the would change significantly. Under the deal, long-term unemployed workers in most states would see their maximum length of benefits restricted, and they may face new drug testing and job retraining requirements to continue receiving benefits. Here are the details of the the deal as it currently stands, according to an outline obtained by CNN:

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60 More Days of the Same

December 23, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

So, House Republicans have completed their cave in and agreed unanimously to the Senate's two month extension of the payroll tax holiday, unemployment insurance, and other policies that were scheduled to expire on December 31st. There's a lot of buzz about how this is good for Obama on the political level, but let's be clear -- all this agreement does is extend the status quo. Nothing in this bill would provide new stimulus to boost the economy or create jobs. And it will only last for 60 days, after which point the payroll tax holiday and extended unemployment insurance benefits are at serious risk of being reduced.

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House GOP Paints Itself Into a Corner on Payroll Taxes

December 20, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Having voted 89-10 to approve an extension of payroll tax cuts, unemployment benefits and dome other policies that are scheduled to expire on January 1st, the Senate has recessed for the year and gone home for the holiday recess. All that the House has to do to make the bill officially ready to be signed into law is hold a simple up-or-down vote on the Senate's bipartisan bill. But during a 3 a.m. meeting of the House Rules Committee last night, the Republican majority devised a different plan -- twist the voting procedure so that the Senate's bill can be rejected while allowing the Republicans to save face by technically voting "aye."

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Third Time's a Charm?

December 5, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Democrats have released details of their third attempt to get Republicans on board for two major pieces of the Obama jobs bill -- extending the payroll tax holiday and extended unemployment insurance for another year, . According to a press release from Sen. Robert Casey [D, PA], the new proposal would reduce the overall cost of the plan by about $80 billion by letting payroll tax holiday expire for employers' contributions. Workers would still get a 50 percent reduction in the amount of payroll taxes they would have to pay normally.

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Supercommittee Failure and Stimulus

November 22, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

While the failure of the supercommittee may be a good thing for long-term deficit reduction, it's not great for what Congress should really be working on -- supporting the economic recovery in the near term. There was some hope that if the supercommittee reached a deal, it would include an extension of some of the fiscal stimulus measures that are set to expire at the end of December. With no deal, the route to sustaining these measures is more difficult, and that threatens the small gains in employment we've seen in recent months.

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Republicans Unveil Fall Jobs Agenda

August 29, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Since Congress has been on August recess, the U.S. has lost its prime credit rating for the first time in history, the Congressional Budget Office has dramatically lowered their unemployment recovery expectations, and more economists have come out with predictions of a double-dip recession. Given all that, it seems reasonable to think that Congress might come back from recess ready to put aside the partisanship and forge a compromise to create jobs and begin stabilizing the economy. The Republicans in the House of Representatives today unveiled their fall agenda -- let's take a look at what kinds of fresh ideas they've come up with over the past month.

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