The Senate finally voted to extend unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work for six months or more, after weeks of delay.
The vote to extend the federal program Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), passed Tuesday, July 20, 60-40, with West Virginia senator Carte Goodwin (the late Robert Byrd’s interim replacement) casting the deciding vote.
President Barack Obama fully supported the bill, but the Republicans feared this bill’s costs would add to the federal deficit.
“We believe the federal debt has grown to an alarming level, where it is threatening the future of our children and grandchildren,” said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
Senator Robert Byrd’s passing in June left the Democrats one vote short of being able to pass the bill, until his replacement, Carte Goodwin, was named on July 15.
The House is expected to approve the legislation and send it to President Barack Obama this week.
The EUC provided an additional 53 weeks of unemployment extension in the form of 4 successive tiers. The EUC benefits program expired on June 2, 2010, leaving millions of unemployed Americans without the chance to qualify for the next tier and cut off from their benefits. This new extension has moved the expiration date to the end of November. Benefits will be paid retroactively from June 2, 2010.
It is said that President Obama might push for another unemployment extension in November. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate in America is 9.5%.
This unemployment extension doesn’t apply to those in states with unemployment rates below 8%, which includes 34 states. Check out the Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to see what 34 states have an unemployment rate below 8 percent: bls.gov.