For Immediate Release
July 21, 2010

Scott Mulhauser/Erin Shields (Baucus)
(202) 224-4515                                                                                                            

Baucus Hails Senate Passage of Unemployment Insurance for Americans Looking for Work

Senate Approves Package to Retroactively Reinstate Unemployment Insurance Benefits, Extend Eligibility through November

Washington, DCSenate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) lauded Senate passage today of legislation to reinstate federal unemployment insurance benefits for Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  Baucus introduced this legislation with Majority Leader Harry Reid in June and has been fighting to extend eligibility for these benefits for workers since the program expired on June 2, 2010.

“This bill restores peace of mind for workers in Montana and across the nation, by giving them the support they need to keep food on the table and a roof overhead as they look for work.  These folks have worked hard all their lives and they will work again, but they need the support this bill provides to make it through the toughest job market we’ve seen in decades,” Baucus said. “I thank my Senate colleagues for standing with us to support American workers and urge the House to pass this bill quickly to restore unemployment insurance benefits – the only lifeline many workers have in this tough economy.”

The legislation passed in the Senate today will retroactively reinstate federal unemployment insurance benefits, so that Americans who lost their benefits when the program expired on June 2, 2010, can receive the support they need while they look for work.  And the bill will extend federal unemployment insurance benefits through November 30, 2010, so Americans who lose their jobs through no fault of their own can continue to receive these much-needed benefits.

Baucus has been fighting for months to extend unemployment insurance as part of a larger package to create jobs and provide tax cuts to businesses and families, which was repeatedly blocked from moving forward on the Senate floor.  Baucus and Reid introduced the bill that passed today on June 29, as a substitute amendment to the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, in order to provide American workers with the benefits they need immediately.  

The Reid-Baucus substitute amendment passed the Senate today by a vote of 59 to 39, after it was amended to remove a provision extending the closing date for homebuyers to qualify for the Homebuyer Tax Credit, which passed the Senate previously in other legislation.  The unemployment insurance extension will now be sent to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

A summary of the bill as it passed today follows below:

American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, H.R. 4213

Summary of Reid-Baucus Substitute Amendment to Extend Unemployment Insurance

  • Extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program - The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program phased-out at the end of May 2010. This program provides (depending on a State’s unemployment rate) up to fifty-three (53) weeks of extended benefits. The bill would extend the EUC program through November 2010 and is retroactive.
  • Extension of Extended Benefits (EB) program - 100% Federal funding for the Extended Benefits (EB) program phased-out at the end of May 2010. This program provides up to an additional 13 to 20 weeks of benefits in certain States (i.e., 13 weeks for States at or above 6.5% unemployment and another 7 weeks for States at or above 8% unemployment). The bill would extend full funding for the EB program through November 2010. 
  • Eliminating the penalty for part-time employment in the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program - The legislation coordinates EUC Benefits with regular benefits by providing States with a number of options to allow EUC claimants to remain eligible for the EUC program when they become newly entitled to State unemployment compensation if switching to State benefits would reduce their weekly UI check by at least $100 or 25 percent.

The three provisions together are estimated to cost $33.9 billion over ten years. 


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