May 26, 2010
The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act: Support for Out-of-Work Americans and Families in Need
As we work to create jobs and get our economy moving again, it is essential we maintain the support programs families and communities need to help them get through these tough economic times. The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act extends several provisions to ensure American families and communities continue to have access to the support they depend on.
- Unemployment Insurance - This bill extends eligibility for unemployment insurance through the end of this year, so families and communities can continue to receive the benefits they depend on as Congress works to create jobs. Without this extension, eligibility for federal benefits will expire at the end of May and workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own will lose the benefits they depend on to pay the rent and put food on the table while they look for work.
- Additional Help for Americans Looking for Work - This bill continues full federal funding of extended unemployment insurance benefits to ensure states can continue to provide unemployed workers with 13 to 20 additional weeks of benefits. The bill also extends the Additional Compensation Program to continue providing unemployed workers with an additional $25 per week to make ends meet in this tough economy.
- Elimination of the Penalty for Part-Time Work - This bill allows workers who take part-time jobs while they search for full-time work to continue receiving benefits at the level of their full-time job if the part-time work is terminated.
- COBRA Health Care Tax Credit - This bill extends eligibility for the 65 percent COBRA tax credit to help workers who have been laid off maintain their health insurance while they look for work.
- Support for Needy Families - This bill prevents a reduction in the Federal Poverty Level from taking effect through the end of this year so low-income families struggling to stay afloat in this tough economy may continue to qualify for the assistance they need. Without this bill, the reduction would take place because the economic downturn caused a decrease in the average cost of goods, which triggered an automatic reduction in the federal poverty level. Eligibility for vital safety-net programs is tied to the poverty level. So, without this bill, families could lose assistance such as Medicaid, food stamps and home heating assistance even though their income does not change. Likewise, the bill also ensures that families don’t lose their eligibility for these programs when they receive tax cuts.
- Assistance for States - This bill extends the federal government’s increased contribution to states for Medicaid through June 2011. The bill also extends other critical safety-net services, including wage-assistance for employers to hire new workers, that are made available through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families through fiscal year 2011. The additional assistance for states was originally made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and without it many states would be unable to fund Medicaid and other services families depend on.
- Housing for Needy Families - This bill will provide an infusion of approximately $1 billion in capital funds and $65 million for project-based vouchers for the National Housing Trust Fund to provide communities with funds to build, preserve and rehabilitate affordable rental homes available to very low income households, including unemployed Americans, veterans and elderly and disabled Americans on fixed incomes.
A complete summary and more information on the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act is available on the Finance Committee website at: http://finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/release/?id=1a5f41d1-7639-441c-aace-8ad824bb6733.