More Money Available for the Unemployed?by Tim Manni
On Tuesday, the House voted in favor of providing a 13-week extension for unemployment benefits in states where the unemployment rate is over 8.5%. Currently, the national rate stands at 9.7%, with many analysts expecting it to crest over 10% by 2010.
Twenty-seven states would qualify for the extension, which would become the fourth since the recession first began, writes the Associated Press. However, the legislation is still awaiting approval in the Senate where the bill has a chance to be either altered or denied.
The 27 states include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
According to the AP, residents of Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico will also qualify.
Lawmakers in states like Kansas — where the unemployment hasn’t yet reached 8.5% — have argued that their states also deserve an extension:
“Action taken by the House this week is a step in the right direction, but I would urge the Senate to consider expanding benefits in states that have not yet reached the 8.5 percent unemployment threshold,” [Kansas Secretary of Labor Jim] Garner said during a news conference.
He added that Kansas is paying unemployment to more than 100,000 people, “many who will exhaust all available benefits within two months.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the extension will run about $1.4 billion. To learn more about the pending extension, be sure to read the AP’s Q&A.