Senators Introduce New Bill to Extend Unemployment Insurance Ben - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Senators Introduce New Bill to Extend Unemployment Insurance Benefits

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Two senators from opposite sides of the aisle are teaming up to restore long-term unemployment benefits.

The bill would not be retroactive for the three-million people who have lost their benefits since the program expired in December.

But Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-NV) say it would help provide the unemployed with some relief.

"We're seeing the overall unemployment numbers come down but long-term unemployment is stuck pretty much where it's been for the last year.  So we're finding people who are out of work at a long period time are finding it very difficult to get a job.  It's easier for the new job entry -- entrance and it's easier for those people who might lose a job but then within several weeks because of their skill levels are hired back in before they exhaust their state benefits,” says Sen. Reed.

Reed and Heller are hoping the lack of retroactive benefits will make the bill more appealing to house Republicans.

The estimated $10-billion price tag would be offset by extending some customs user fees and through something called "pension smoothing" -- a complicated provision that some conservatives consider an accounting gimmick.

“Jack and I will continue to work forward and allow an individual that wherever their marker was at the end of the year, that's where they would start their benefits. It's the best we can do under the circumstances,” says Sen. Heller. 

“We need to get our country back to full employment -- to a place where all Americans have an opportunity to earn a living and build a better life for their families,” said Senator Reed. “Restoring unemployment insurance is the decent thing to do, and it is a smart step that will provide some much needed stability and predictability to the long-term unemployed as well as to local businesses and our economy as a whole.  That is why Senator Heller and I continue working on bipartisan solutions that will help job seekers.  I appreciate Senator Heller's steadfast leadership and commitment to helping more people who’ve been out of work return to the labor force.”

“This year has been extremely difficult for Nevadans who still do not know how they are going to pay their bills or feed their families. Senator Reed and I have gone back to the drawing board, and put together a new proposal that I hope both chambers of Congress can debate and vote on. This new bill allows for job-seeking Americans to collect these important benefits moving forward, and pays for them as well. I am grateful to Senator Reed for his continued partnership on this important issue. His input and his friendship have been invaluable over the past many months,” said Senator Heller.

Nearly 34,000 Nevadans will lose their unemployment insurance if legislation is not passed by the end of the month.

Earlier this year, Senators Reed and Heller helped pass a bipartisan bill to restore UI benefits for job seekers through the full U.S. Senate. The House of Representatives never voted on that plan.
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