Federal Unemployment Extension Bill on Track for Passage

The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 (H.R.4213) passed the U.S. Senate yesterday (Tuesday, 7/20/10) by a vote of 60-40 just enough to overcome the Republican filibuster threat extending unemployment benefits for 2.5 million jobless Americans. The bill now goes back to the House for approval before it can be sent to the President for approval.

 The cost of the bill is estimated at $34 billion, less than half of the original $200 billion price tag, and as much as 70% being paid with offsets.

While the bill has many provisions to close tax loopholes affecting wealthy individuals and corporations, the bill extends for three month the closing deadline for first-time homebuyers looking to get the $8,000 tax credit, and also extends charitable tax incentives we lobbied for under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, such as the IRA rollover (sec.226) and the enhanced charitable deductions for contributions of food (sec.251), books (sec.252) or computers (sec.253).

H.R.4213.EAH would extend benefits for the next three months (until November) retroactive to the first week of June. What’s missing? The $25 per week Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) stimulus is missing, as is an extension of COBRA health insurance. It also includes drastic reductions in Medicaid, Medicare, and Tricare. All of this of course impact families that are already struggling to find gainful employment. American families are facing a crisis not witnessed in decades, joblessness, homelessness, lack of medical care, and even hunger. In Philadelphia at least, one third of those going hungry are children.

Extension of unemployment benefits is a critical step, but it is only the first step. This would be the eighth extension of unemployment benefits since July 2008, at a total cost of over $120 billion. WHERE IS THE PLAN TO FIX THE ECONOMY? Where is the plan to work with business and nonprofits to grow the workforce with well-paying jobs upon which a person can build a family?

–David A. Ross, J.D.

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Read more at:

(7/21/10) Unemployment benefits extension comes with mixed views, concerns, by David Bodenheimer, The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20100721/articles/100729982&tc=yahoo?tc=ar

(7/20/10) Filibuster broken, jobless benefits may flow soon. By a single vote, jobless benefits extension clears Senate hurdle, setting stage for passage, by Andrew Taylor, Associated Press. “The recovery from the nation’s long and deep recession has produced relatively few new jobs so far, and millions of people’s unemployment benefits began running out seven weeks ago as Congress bogged down in an impasse over whether the $34 billion cost of a fresh extension of benefits should be paid for with budget cuts or be added to the $13 trillion national debt.” http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Filibuster-broken-jobless-apf-1521010382.html?x=0&.v=24

(6/28/10) H.R. 4213 American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act | What’s Left, World news Vine. http://worldnewsvine.com/2010/06/h-r-4213-american-jobs-and-closing-tax-loopholes-act-whats-left/

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Corbett Retracts Prior Statement That Unemployed Would Rather Collect Benefits Than Work

 
In response to public outrage and chiding from his opponent, gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett reversed his prior statement where he had blamed unemployed Pennsylvanian’s for being jobless. Read the original article at http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-pennsylvania-corbett-unemployment-20100709,0,4903822.story
 
Claiming that the unemployed would rather collect unemployment benefits than work, because minimum wage jobs remain unfilled is foolish for a gubernatorial candidate, especially given the current economic climate. Not only does it incense the electorate, but it builds intense mistrust. With a 9.1% unemployment rate in Pennsylvania, virtually every person in PA has a family member who is unemployed, knows someone who is unemployed, or is concerned about losing his or her own job. But good jobs are few and far between these days. According to Vice President Biden, “there’s no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession.” http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20008924-503544.html
 
If Corbett should become the next Governor of PA, it would be his job to attract new employers to PA, prevent existing PA employers from leaving, and add good job with decent wages. After all, not all jobs are created equal. A family of 4 can not live on one minimum wage job, and few minimum wage jobs provide health care coverage. As for unemployment benefits being an incentive not to work, if you think that $310 per week is an adequate incentive, I welcome you to try making ends meet on $7.75 per hour, before taxes, and not including health care (which is about $500 per month).   
 
According to Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, (Democratic candidate for PA Governor), Attorney General Corbett’s statement that jobless benefits lead some workers to choose unemployment shows that Corbett “simply doesn’t get it.” If you visited Onorato’s website at http://www.voteonorato.com/?no_splash=1, you would think that jobs were his top priority.
  
According to the Corbett Campaign, however, “Corbett has shown his commitment to turning the economic tides in PA, by developing detailed plans for reforming the state’s job climate, increasing job opportunity and putting Pennsylvanians back to work.” Check out Corbett’s reform package and you decide whether his proposals will help average Pennsylvanians by putting them back to work, or preventing them from losing their job in the first place. http://www.tomcorbettforgovernor.com/reforming-pennsylvania%E2%80%99s-jobs-climate. 
 
Corbett has since publicly apologized for his insensitive remark. He even claimed that he was merely relating the words of someone else, but the damage is already done. Now, he must win back the electorate by regaining their trust, which takes time, and lots of it.

  

 Pundits still put Corbett ahead of Onorato by as much as 10 points in the polls. For the past 8 months, the catch-phrase for the PA Governor’s race has been “It’s Corbett’s to lose”. The Corbett’s campaign is blaming the Onorato’s campaign and the Harrisburg Patriot News for fueling the fire.  The Onorato campaign certainly has benefited from Corbett’s gaff (if it was in fact a gaff).  Maybe we have all benefited from Corbett’s misstatement. Both campaigns are now refocused on finding solutions to substantive issues like unemployment, job creation, job retention and Pennsylvania’s economy. 

 —-  David A. Ross, J.D.
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Additional Articles:
 
(7/20/10) Tom Corbett chalks up criticism over unemployment remarks to negative campaigning by Dan Onorato , by Kari Andren, The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA) http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/07/tom_corbett_chalks_up_criticis.html#incart_mce 

(7/20/10) Gov. Ed Rendell blasts GOP gubernatorial hopeful Tom Corbett for his unemployment remarks, by Kari Andren, The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA) http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/07/gov_ed_rendell_blasts_gop_gube.html#incart_mce

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