Attempt to extend unemployment insurance benefits fails in Congress

The latest effort by U.S. Senate Democrats to extend emergency unemployment benefits failed on a procedural vote again on Thursday by a vote of 58 to 40.  This week in Congress, Senate Democrats made a move to pass a short-term extension of unemployment insurance benefits by forcing a cloture vote. To survive cloture and move to consider the legislation requires 60 votes.  Democrats were joined by Republicans Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada.

The latest proposal included provisions to pay for the $6.4 billion cost of the extension with a pension smoothing amendment, which would reduce required pension contributions by employers.  It included an earlier proposal from Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma that would have prohibited payment of unemployment compensation to individuals with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more the year prior to applying for unemployment compensation.

“It is not likely at this point that an extension proposal will move on its own through the Senate, and less likely that it would be taken up in the House,” said Douglas J. Holmes, president of UWC – Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers’ Compensation.  “However, there is considerable concern about the number of long term unemployed individuals and steps that could be taken to provide training, job search assistance and support. A federal extended unemployment compensation program could still be proposed in conjunction with other legislation that is being considered in 2014.”

The Missouri Chamber is monitoring this federal legislation.  For more information on unemployment insurance, contact Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs at tking@mochambe.com, or by phone at 73-634-3511.

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