Sunday, May 16, 2010

Message From Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) Regarding #Tier5 #Unemployment

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for a fifth tier of unemployment insurance (UI). I wholeheartedly agree that Congress should extend these critical benefits, as well as take further action to spur job creation.

   Tens of millions of Americans are looking for work and a record 6.5 million have been unemployed for more than six months. That is why Congress has acted several times since this economic downturn began to extend, expand and improve UI. In November 2009, Congress extended UI by 14 weeks in all states and 20 weeks in high-unemployment states such as New York. Because of this legislation, out-of-work New Yorkers can now claim a maximum 99 weeks of UI. In December, Congress passed a two-month extension of the unemployment provisions included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (commonly known as the stimulus package), which were set to expire at the end of 2009. These provisions include a vital emergency tier of benefits, expanded eligibility, an extra $100 per month in benefits, and an income tax disregard on the first $2,400 of UI. These provisions were extended again in March, but briefly lapsed in early April due to filibustering by the minority party. Senate Democrats were recently able to overcome this obstruction and pass another one-month extension, which included retroactive benefits—a first in the history of UI.

   This extension presents some comfort to the unemployed, but it is certainly not enough. The American Workers, State and Business Relief Act, which I vocally supported and which passed the Senate in March, would extend the 99 weeks of UI through the end of 2010. The House of Representatives passed a slightly different end-of-year extension; the two bills are now being reconciled. Once I ensure that every New Yorker receives the full 99 weeks to which they are entitled, I will work with my colleagues to create a fifth tier of benefits. More than 25,000 New Yorkers have exhausted the full 99 weeks of benefits and I am committed to providing them further relief.

   Helping unemployed workers make ends meet is only part of the equation to put America on a path to economic recovery. Congress is also working on a robust job creation agenda. The centerpiece of the H.I.R.E. Act (Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act), which the President signed into law last month, was a provision I authored with my colleague Senator Hatch (R-UT). Our provision stipulates that any business—large or small—that hires a long-term unemployed person in 2010 will not have to pay FICA taxes on that individual for the rest of the year. Economists of all political stripes predict that this law will spur hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The Senate is also working on a number of other pieces of jobs legislation, including proposals to eliminate the capital gains tax on small business investments and make it easier and more affordable for small businesses—the engines of growth in our economy—to get loans. Another legislative proposal currently under consideration would make a sizeable investment in our nation’s highways, railways and aviation infrastructure. These public works projects will be designed to get started as quickly as possible to get Americans back to work.

   Again, thank you for contacting me on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further assistance on this, or any other, matter.
   Charles E. Schumer
   United States Senator

   Please do not respond to this email. To send another message please visit my website at . Thank you.

Source:  DailyKos

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