Here is the latest news on the Unemployment Extension 2013.
First a little history, in plain English, so you will better understand.
Unemployment benefits ended on 12-29-12 for those individuals that were on any type of tier collecting EUC (Emergency Unemployment Benefits).
There is also another type of extended benefit called SEB (State Extended Benefits) which provides benefits after EUC has run out. This benefit provides up to 20 weeks of additional unemployment compensation, and is intended to assist those in very hard hit areas with high levels of unemployment.
When this matter was before Congress in 2011 for 2012, there were changes made to the SEB structure. Namely, the formula used to calculate which states were eligible was restructured, resulting in most states losing this benefit in mid 2012.
In Nevada for example, which still has double-digit unemployment, SEB ended in July of 2012, because the formula that calculated eligibility year over year found that the Nevada rate of unemployment, while still high, had improved more than 10% year over year.
The total number of weeks that someone could collect unemployment benefits also decreased.
The deal also called for both of these programs to end at the end of 2012.
With these important benefits for the long-term unemployed on the chopping block for 2013, President Obama had said that extending benefits had to be a part of deal for 2013.
The basic gist was that President Obama wanted Republicans making more than $200,000 per year to pay higher taxes. Republicans wanted none of that. They wanted tax breaks for the wealthy and also wanted to cut social security benefits, medicare benefits and the payroll tax break that most Americans have been receiving , which would result in many Americans taking home an even smaller paycheck.
That proposal was offered up by the House of Representatives Speaker, John Boehner, a Republican, and was not viewed favorably.
What then happened is that the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, a Republican and Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat were able to hammer out a deal that included a provision for an Unemployment Extension 2013.
The Senate had been meeting to avoid the impending fiscal cliff and met New Years Eve into New Years Day and an agreement was reached in the Senate. They voted on the deal and it passed; 89 were for it and 8 against it.
The deal they voted on protects many of the benefits mentioned above and includes extending the EUC benefits for one year. It also lowers the level of when increased taxes for the wealthy must be paid to $400,000; more than President Obama initially wanted.
Full details of the exact wording of the unemployment extension have not been released yet and it is not known if the threshold and formula used to calculate SEB has changed to better reflect the economy. What is known is that what passed, in the Senate, calls for a one year unemployment extension.
It is not a done deal yet because now it must pass through the House of Representatives. The Senate is controlled by Democrats; The House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans and the House Speaker is John Boehner, who has lost a lot of popularity and credibility, even amongst Republicans, for the recent proposals.
After it was announced that the Senate had made an agreement, Boehner said,
The House will honor its commitment to consider the Senate agreement if it is passed.
So, nothing is passed yet, including the Unemployment Extension 2013, because it has to go through the House of Representatives now, who will “consider” it.
That does not mean it will be approved and more “political fights” may ensue.
Historically, the House of Representatives was supposed to be the voice of the people, within their district, because they are supposed to consider, in essence, the smaller picture – that is, those living in the district in which they represent, while the Senate was supposedly designed to be more broad and consider what is best for the nation as a whole.
The Senate was viewed as having more seasoned worldly individuals because you have to be at least 35 , whereas one has to be only 25 to a member of the House of Representatives.
Over the years that picture has been skewed with the House somehow believing that they know what is best for the entire nation.
We will inform you of more news when the vote actually takes place and the outcome.