|Image via Wikipedia|
|Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced
a bill-HR-6556-with co-sponsor Rep.
Scott for the 99ers in the last
“The tax compromise President Obama recently negotiated with Republicans extended unemployment benefits for many people. But it didn’t help the long-term unemployed, people who have exhausted their available weeks of state and federal unemployment benefits, equaling 99 weeks in roughly half of all states”, Representatives Lee and Scott wrote.
“That is why we recently introduced a bill to help these “99ers” and others who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, by adding another 14 weeks of benefits they can receive. This extension won’t solve everything, but it will provide them vital extra time to find work as the economy slowly improves”, they cited.
Representative Barbara Lee introduced HR-6556 on December 20th, at the noted ‘lame-duck’ session. The bill would have added 14 weeks of federal unemployment benefits to those who had exhausted their benefits. With the legislation introduced so late into the lame-ducks, many wondered if the legislation was just another empty gesture, similar to 99ers bills introduced in 2010.
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Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Lee and Scott defended the intent of HR-6556 in the Times-Dispatch column.
“While some may call this bill an empty gesture, in our view there is nothing “empty” about helping hard-working Americans. We suggested that the provisions of this bill — also a part of the alternative proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus — be added to the president’s original tax compromise, but it was not accepted”, they cited.
The 112th Congress begins this afternoon. New Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has announced that of his first priorities will be to repeal health care reform and cut $100 billion from the federal budget.
Both Representatives Scott and Lee admit that the bill is a long shot.
“We know we have a tough road ahead, but after all, it is the season of miracles. With your support, we can help these conservative “Grinches” grow hearts and vote to help these hard-working Americans get back on their feet”, Lee and Scott wrote. “Extending unemployment benefits to buy a little more time for the “99ers” and other exhaustees is the least we can do”, they wrote.
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