Extending the unemployment benefits by up to 20 weeks

I pointed out earlier this year how strange it was that the increase in unemployment benefits under the stimulus bill phased out the end of this year. It was one of the few parts of the stimulus that only lasted for one year, and it was especially strange given that no one argued that the unemployment rate would drop to where it was last year when the Democrats were first pushing for the increase in benefits. It seemed suspiciously political to me, that they wanted to reduce the subsidies so that the unemployment rate would start to fall before the elections next fall. The increase in benefits now at least shows that the simple model that I had was wrong.

The Senate agreed on an 87-13 procedural vote to bring the measure to a final vote, killing a Republican filibuster that had delayed action for more than a week.

If the bill is approved by both chambers on Capitol Hill and is signed by the president, those who cannot find work would be eligible for a maximum of 99 weeks of benefits.

The Senate bill would extend benefits for 14 additional weeks in all states, and an additional six weeks in states with unemployment rate above 8.5%. In September, 26 states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates above 8.5%.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 9.8% in September, the highest in 26 years. Most analysts expect the unemployment rate to reach 10% soon and to remain above 9% for at least another year, even if the economy continues to recover. . . .

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