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Unemployment Insurance Reform

Extended Unemployment Benefits Approved by Feds

This week, the U.S. Senate finally broke a filibuster by conservatives to approve an extension of unemployment insurance (UI) for 2.5 million people who lost their benefits when the program expired last month.  The House is expected to approve the bill today, which extends the program through November, offering the long-term unemployed up to 99 weeks of aid and making benefits retroactive to June 2 when the program expired.

Unemployment Insurance Extension Filibuster Worsens Economic Pain

The country is still reeling from the effects of the downturn.  Though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has undoubtedly benefited the economy, there are still 15 million Americans out of work.

Easing the Financial Burden on the Unemployed: States and the Federal Government Taking Action

While the Great Recession has been hard on families across the country, both states and the federal government have stepped up in unprecedented ways to ease the financial burden on the unemployed through extended benefits and modernization of state programs.  Compared to pre-recession rules that generally provided only 26 weeks of unemployment insurance, federal action extended support for up to 99 weeks in states hit hardest by the recession.

Saving Jobs: More Federal Action Needed on State Fiscal Relief

Last month, President Barack Obama signed the $17.5 billion Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act into law to assist small businesses and spur job creation.  This was definitely a start, but the gravity of the current crisis demands much bolder and quicker action.  Congress needs to enact further state fiscal relief to support jobs and avoid the massive layoffs that threaten social and economic vitality in the states.

Job Creation and State Fiscal Relief Resolutions Moving in the States

In the State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama stated, "...jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill." With the fiscal crisis forcing states to layoff hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses and police officers, the need for more federal job creation and state fiscal relief support is clear.  And there is substantial momentum building around this issue in the states.