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Monday, December 20, 2010

Glimmer of hope or just too late? Rep. Lee offers HR-6556 jobless extension for 99ers

Current Chair, Barbara LeeImage via Wikipedia
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) offers
HR-6556 giving a 11th-Hour glimmer of
hope to the 99ers but, is the measure too
late?
When President Obama signed HR-4853 the 'Middle Class Tax Cuts/Unemployment Compensation Act' into law on Friday, December 17th, the nation's longest-term unemployed 'the 99ers' were not included in the measure. 


By taking this action, hopes for a passing 'Tier V' Bill' began for the an estimated 6 Million unemployed job seekers, dimmed

Unknown to the '99ers' knowledge, on the day the President signed what is now known as the 'Obama Tax Cut Bill', the Congressional Black Caucus leader-Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) sponsored a small glimmer of hope. 

“Unfortunately, the Congressional Black Caucus’s alternative which would have provided this assistance was not considered on the House floor Thursday night,” said Rep. Scott.  “Instead the House passed a package that adds almost $900 billion to the nation’s deficit but does little to help Americans who are chronically unemployed.”
Crew of 42 news blog first reported the story of the legislation on Sunday, December 19th. Representative Lee with Co-Sponsor Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) drafted what could be the last hope for a bill focused on extending supplemental income compensation to exhausted claimants unemployed claimants, before January 2011.

At this time, the measure has been referred over to the measure over to the Committee on Ways and Means and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by current Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). 

For HR-6556 to have a change at passage, the legislation would have to be voted out of both committees or pulled by the Speaker of the House, on to the floor for an up or down vote before the end date of 111th session of Congress on January 2, 2010.

The November 3, 2010 nationally-elected, 112th Republican Controlled House of Representatives officially take over the chamber on January 3, 2011, to January 3, 2013.

Other factors impacting HR-6556, is how many actual votes exist in Congress, in favor of the bill. Two Senate Republicans Scott Brown (R-MA) and John Barrasso (R-WY) engaged in stand-alone filibuster campaigns on November 30th and December 3rd, blocking and up or down vote S. 3981-'The Unemployment Insurance Stabilization Act'. 


Both Republican Senators' cited deficit concerns as their reasons for voting filibustering the bill at that time.

On December 6th, President Obama announced a 'compromise deal' with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellDetails of the 'deal' included extending the Bush Era Tax Cuts of 2001 and 2003 to all wage earners until 2012, increasing estate tax deduction for the wealthy, reducing Social Security withholdings to 4 percent from 6 percent, for extending unemployment insurance filing dates to jobless under 99 weeks of benefits until January 2011. 

Costs associated with the passage of the HR-4853 is estimated to be $857 Billion dollars, adding to U.S. $13.8 Trillion dollar deficit.

Since Republican leadership 'deal' with President Obama is now law, it is doubtful that the group will allow HR-6556 known as the '11th-Hour 99er Bill' to pass without cuts elsewhere in the Federal fiscal budget or, using monies from leftover from American Recovery and Re-Investment Act of 2009 (ARRA)

It is unknown how Representative's Lee and Scott plan on funding the measure or the total cost of the legislation, at this time. 

The '99ers' have two measures in the House and Senate bodies addressing America's longest-term job seekers who have EXHAUSTED 73-99 weeks of benefits. Another bill S-3706-'The Americans Want to Work Act' measure sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), has been held in a Senate Finance Committee since the stand alone filibuster by lame-duck Senator George LeMieux on September 30th

If passed, S-3706 would have provided up to 20 weeks of unemployment compensation for exhausted claimants from all Federal jobless benefits programs. The measure would have provide up to a $2000 tax credit to employers who hired the longest-term job seekers. 

For HR-6556, the measure if passed would enact the following provisions, reported by the Crew of 42 News Blog:

Provide 14 additional weeks of emergency unemployment compensation in Tier I.
* The additional benefit will be available for those who have exhausted all their benefits (99ers and other exhaustees) as well as those who will be unemployed this year.
* This expansion is similar to the expansion in Nov. 2009 which provided an additional week of benefits to Tier II.
* Add the extra weeks in Tier I, allow for the supplemental income payments to be available for all chronically unemployed. Not only claimants currently collecting unemployment benefits from a “high unemployment state.”

What are your thoughts on this article? Do you believe that HR-6556 have a change of passage or was offered to late to help the 99ers? Feel free to comment on this story, below!
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