Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduce new legislation to restore emergency unemployment benefits. Unlike the Reed/Heller bill passed by the Senate in April 2014, this bill does not include retroactive payments for jobless Americans. Any unemployed person whose aid was ended in December would be eligible to receive insurance payments for as many weeks as they had remaining when benefits ceased. Reed states:
I would rather fix the entire problem, but there’s not the votes to do everything. I understand that some people will say, ‘this is not fair. I was cut off for two months before I was able to find a job and this bill isn’t retroactive so it won’t cover me.’ I agree that this program should never have been forced to expire and it is unfair that partisan gridlock in the House prevented the bipartisan, Senate-passed Reed-Heller fix from ever getting an up or down vote and becoming law.
The Senate passes a bipartisan bill reauthorizing emergency unemployment insurance in a 59-38 vote. The bill is authored by Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV). Senate Democrats incorporated Republican ideas into the bill, including banning millionaires from receiving benefits and offering enhanced assessments and referrals to reemployment services. It is fully paid for by extending ‘pension smoothing’ provisions and customs user fees. Reed:
Millions of Americans are struggling to find work, and today, the U.S. Senate finally passed a bipartisan bill to provide them some targeted, temporary relief. Restoring emergency unemployment insurance is the right thing to do and this is a critical moment to get it done. The bipartisan bill we crafted is a fiscally responsible compromise that will help save and create jobs, assist our neighbors in need, and improve both our short-term and long-term national economic health.