Baucus, Reid Push Forward on Funding for Unemployment Insurance, Vital Tax Help For Businesses And Military Families, Measures to Stabilize Housing Market
Senators Champion Benefits Extension, Updates to Recovery Act for Women, Struggling Families
Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Majority LeaderHarry Reid (D-Nev.) were joined by a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation today to extend unemployment insurance benefits to out-of-work Americans in all 50 states by up to 14 additional weeks. The Senate substitute amendment, drafted by Baucus, also extends benefits for six additional weeks in states with unemployment levels over eight and a half percent. Nearly two million out-of-work Americans would benefit from extension of vital assistance that would otherwise expire by the end of the year. The proposal is fully paid for by an extension of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) through June 30, 2011.
The Senate substitute to the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act also includes modifications to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to allow families receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, to remain eligible while receiving an additional $25 perweek in unemployment insurance benefits. The Baucus bill also updates the Unemployment Insurance Modernization provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to allow victims of sexual assault who have left their job to be eligible for benefits under the “compelling family reasons” clause. Additionally, the legislation specifies railroad workers facing expiring unemployment benefits would be eligible foradditional weeks.
“This is a strong proposal crafted in a fiscally-responsible way. Millions of Americans who lost jobs as a result of this recession depend on this help. Soon, they can breathe a sigh of relief,” Baucus said. “Soon, Senators will have another chance to cast the right vote for our economy, for helping unemployed Americans get back on their feet and for creating new jobs.”
“Our proposal from the outset has been simple: Let’s support those families who have been hardest hit by the recession,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. “In the almost three weeks since Republicans firstbegan to delay this measure, over 150,000 Americans have lost their unemployment benefits. ThoseAmericans, and the thousands of others who will lose their benefits if we don’t act, need us to act now. Itcannot be overstated how critical this assistance is to workers back in Nevada and all across the countrywho are unemployed. I’m also encouraged with the compromise that was reached on the Homebuyer Tax Credit. Under our agreement, we will be able to extend and expand the homebuyer credit, providing much needed assistance to the struggling housing market. I am disappointed that Senate Republicans are still blocking final passage of this legislation to bring relief to out-of-work Americans and spur home ownership,but we’re hopeful that, at some point, sensible solutions will trump politics.”
“With winter and the holidays fast approaching, passage of this bill can’t come soon enough for millions of hard working Americans who lost their jobs because of the Bush recession. This bill helps people feed theirfamilies and pay their rent while they continue to look for work. And every dollar we invest inunemployment insurance will quickly generate $1.61 in local economic activity,”Senator Jack Reed (DR.I.) said. “Our economy is showing positive signs of recovery. But you can’t feed your family with GDP.Hopefully the proposal developed by Majority Leader Reid and Chairman Baucus will not face the samedelay tactics, because people in my state need this help now.”
“Our jobless workers are in crisis,”Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said. “They face a job market wherethere is one job for every six unemployed workers, and it’s our responsibility to help them. This legislation is sound policy and the right thing to do, not only for our workers, but also to stimulate our economy. I amhopeful that the Senators who have blocked this legislation will put politics aside and pass this desperately needed lifeline today."
Senator Baucus also successfully added an amendment to the substitute legislation today designed to supportstruggling businesses and calm a beleaguered housing market with revised and extended first-time homebuyerand net operating loss carryback tax relief provisions. The homebuyer tax credit extension, developed incooperation with Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), would continue the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit through April 30, 2010, allowing purchasers under a binding contract an additional 60 days to close after that date. It would also provide a $6,500 credit to new purchasers who have lived in their current residence for five years or more.
The legislation also expands the net operating loss carryback (NOL) provision to allow U.S. companies of every to carry back losses incurred in either 2008 or 2009 against income earned in any of the five prior years,limited to 50 percent of the taxpayer’s income in the fifth year. The NOL provision reflects legislationintroduced by Baucus and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) earlier this year. Additionally, the bill includes aprovision put forward by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) that would make payments under the MilitaryHomeowner Assistance Program (HAP) tax-exempt for military personnel. Senator Baucus fought for inclusionof the NOL carryback provision and first-time homebuyer tax credit as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“This bill will provide real tax relief to recession-worn companies by allowing them to offset their losses against taxes paid in earlier years. This allows businesses to recoup the funds they need to make payroll andmeet expenses to retain and create jobs. This bill also includes a common-sense plan to provide tax help todeployed or relocated military families stung by rushed, below-market home sales. And our proposal gives homebuyers a buffer to help steady the housing market from the ground up,” Baucus said. “We are still in aworld of economic hurt, and Congress must continue to act boldly and creatively. With the right mix of taxbreaks and investments we will get through this recession and get folks working again.”
The Baucus tax relief amendment is offset in part by a delay in implementation of worldwide allocation of interest. An additional offset would increase the penalties on companies that fail to file a partnership or Scorporation federal tax return.
A full summary of the Senate substitute to the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act can be found on the printer-friendly version of this release.
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