Senate UI extension moves forward

A report from the National Skills Coalition

On January 7, the Senate voted to advance legislation to provide for a short-term extension of emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) benefits. The cloture vote passed on a bipartisan basis, 60-37. The legislation introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) would extend EUC payments through March 3, 2014.

EUC allows additional weeks of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for unemployed workers who are unable to find new employment prior to the exhaustion of the regular benefit. Congress failed to reauthorize EUC before it expired on December 28, and as a result, early this year more than one million unemployed workers saw the financial assistance they depended on while searching for work or preparing for family-sustaining employment disappear.

While the cloture vote represents a significant hurdle cleared, there remain obstacles to final passage. Several senators have expressed their intent to offset the cost of extending EUC—though it is currently unclear what those offsets would be—while others may offer amendments that would change the structure of the EUC program. NSC will closely monitor these policy developments.

NSC strongly supports an extension of the EUC program, and urges Congress to extend EUC benefits in a manner that is fair to workers and helps move the long-term unemployed back to employment.