Bipartisan senators agree to 5-month renewal of jobless benefits

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Five Republican senators joined 55 Democrats Thursday in pushing for a bill renewing unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless until May this year.

The bill will provide some 2 million people jobless insurance retroactive to Dec. 28, when the program expired. The $10 billion cost of extending the benefits will be offset by extending customs user fees through 2024 and pension smoothing provisions from the 2012 highway bill.

The proposed legislation also features new requirements in order to continue receiving insurance. One such requirement is more job training. Another new provision is ceasing benefits to laid-off workers whose gross income the previous year topped $1 million.

Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) put together the measure with Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) co-sponsoring it.

The Senate hopes to pass the bill after senators return from a one-week recess as the five Republicans will give 55 Democrats the 60 votes needed to approve it.

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