May 05,2011

Press Contact:

Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515

Hatch, Camp Introduce Bicameral JOBS Act

Initiative Provides States Flexibility with Unemployment Funds

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today unveiled S. 904, the Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services (JOBS) Act of 2011.  Companion legislation (H.R. 1745) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) and Human Resources Subcommittee member Rick Berg (R-N.D.). The Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee have jurisdiction over unemployment benefit issues.    

The JOBS Act provides States new flexibility in spending the remaining $31 billion in Federal unemployment funds that will be spent during the rest of this year.  Under current law, that money could only be spent for unemployment benefits stretching up to 99 weeks in many States.  Under the JOBS Act, States could also use the money to prevent job-destroying unemployment tax hikes or for programs designed to get unemployed workers back on the job.  Under the bill there will be no changes to how a State’s share of the $31 billion is spent unless a State affirmatively enacts legislation to do so.

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Hatch commented, "Hitting our nation’s job creators with significant tax hikes as a means of replenishing state unemployment programs is bad policy that undermines the ultimate goal a robust economic recovery. This legislation is a fiscally-smart way of empowering states by giving them the flexibility they need to strengthen programs for the unemployed, while promoting a pro-growth environment to spur job creation.”

Ways and Means Chairman Camp stated, “The JOBS Act is about giving States the flexibility to spend current funds better, preventing job-destroying tax hikes and helping unemployed individuals find new jobs.  It doesn’t add to the deficit, and simply lets States use current funds more wisely.  At the same time, it includes reforms that will make the unemployment benefits system work better in the long run – promoting more job search and education and training needed to help the unemployed get back to work sooner.  And it allows States to apply for innovative pro-reemployment waivers of Federal UI law, like the waivers that led to successful welfare reforms of the 1990s.” 

Additional materials about the JOBS Act:

  1. One page summary
  2. State shares of $31 billion