Ways and Means Committee Democrats today introduced the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act, legislation to extend federal unemployment insurance programs through 2012. The measure’s introduction, by Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) and Human Resources Subcommittee Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), comes with a looming Dec. 31 expiration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits, federal programs that currently provide Americans with up to 73 weeks of additional unemployment insurance, averaging $300 a week per person.
The legislation would prevent over 6 million jobless Americans from losing their unemployment benefits next year by continuing the current Federal unemployment insurance programs through 2012. The Economic Policy Institute has estimated that preventing UI benefits from expiring could prevent the loss of over 500,000 jobs.
The bill would preserve those programs for another year. It would also relieve states that have federal unemployment insurance loans from interest charges next year, prevent higher federal unemployment taxes beginning in January on employers in insolvent states and provide a solvency bonus to states without any outstanding loans. Reps. Levin and Doggett today were joined at a news conference announcing the bill’s introduction by Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Stark, Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Joe Crowley (D-NY).