UPDATE: Senate rejected extending H.R. 4213 yesterday, the bill will be revised and resubmitted.
Recently, Congress enjoyed a week off for Memorial Day while America’s unemployed worried about the future of their benefits. Amidst rumors of a recovering economy, 12.1 percent of Clayton county’s population are still unemployed, compared to Georgia at 10.9% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
H.R. 4213 (American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010) will extend COBRA and the filing deadline for tiers 1-4 of unemployment benefits until November 30, 2010. Other provisions include restoring the flow of credit to small businesses, an extension of the current rate of Medicare payments to doctors, several targeted tax cuts and a recently added price per barrel tax to clean up the Gulf oil spill, among other things. Price tag is $127 billion, including $43 billion of new revenue being raised by closing tax loopholes affecting wealthy individuals and corporations. Tier 5 for the long-term unemployed isn’t even being considered in this bill.
Although there have been delays by politicians on both sides of the aisle, Representative John Linder (R-Georgia) has suggested that receiving extended unemployment benefits keep people from looking for work. While I don’t doubt some may be working the system, I’ll bet the majority are not.
“I hate that people assume I don’t want to work,” says resident and legal secretary Jaydah Cunningham. “I’ve hardly gotten interviews and when I do there are so many people applying for the same job, it’s hard out there and without the unemployment check, I don’t know how we’ll survive if I don’t find work soon.”
“Until sufficient jobs are created to give the long-term unemployed a decent chance of finding work, Congress must continue to extend the Recovery Act’s unemployment insurance and COBRA provisions (which are themselves efficient job creators), and should enact a new program of cash assistance for the long-term unemployed,” Dr. Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute testified before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support last week.
Why is our government moving so slow to aid Americans in need? Please contact your representatives and ask them to extend unemployment and COBRA benefits, and let them know you won’t forget their vote come election time! The site will automatically generate a letter to your representatives when you enter your location and/or zip code, it only takes a few minutes of your time.
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