Unemployment insurance proposal achieves bipartisan Senate support

Unemployment Insurance extension

A new deal has been reached in order to lengthen the long term coverage by another five months.

A bipartisan senator group has now come to a deal that will allow the federal long term unemployment insurance program to be extended for an additional five months.

This agreement has arrived after several months of focused negotiations and will be applied retroactively.

Unemployment Insurance extensionThe unemployment insurance will be distributed retroactively to those whose benefits expired at the close of last year. The price tag that comes with extending these benefits will be an estimated $10 billion. However, this cost is expected to be completely offset by a “pension smoothing” accounting technique that will extend customs user fees for another ten years. Also adding to the offsetting of this cost will be an adjustment to the single employer pension plan payment procedures.

The prospects of the unemployment insurance bill had been generating cautious optimism among Senate aides.

A number of different versions of the legislation had been presented for a vote over the last few months, but fell short of breaking a filibuster led by the Republicans. The Democratic leaders in the Senate needed all of their own members as well as at least five Republicans to work together and break that barrier. There are now five Republicans who are putting their weight behind the latest proposal: Senators Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

From the time that the federal insurance program expired on December 28, 2013, the number of Americans who were receiving those benefits dropped by about 2 million people. The leader of the Senate Majority, Harry Reid (D-Nevada), had been pressing toward a one year extension of the benefits while offsetting the costs, or a deal for three months that had no costs offset. However, the continuing stalemate forced him to discover a way to work around the problems leading to the disagreements.

As a part of this new unemployment insurance deal, there will be some structural changes that will be made to the program as a whole, such as in the benefits for individuals with preceding year gross incomes that were greater than $1 million.

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