A potential reprieve for the laid-off and looking: The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill yesterday that would extend unemployment benefits, as lawmakers seek additional economic stimulus beyond the tax rebate plan. From Congressional Quarterly:
The legislation is expected to be a key element of a second economic stimulus package that congressional Democrats plan to move in the coming weeks, possibly as part of the fiscal 2008 war supplemental funding bill.
Under the Democratic measure, residents of most states would get an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits, on top of the 26 weeks already authorized under law. Residents of states with unemployment rates at or above 6 percent would get an additional 13 weeks beyond that, totaling one year of benefits.
Marketwatch has reported that President Bush opposes a second stimulus plan before the rebates are put to work, but Democrats think you and I will be saving most of that money, not spending it. From Marketwatch:
Both Democratic presidential hopefuls support extending unemployment benefits. Republican contender John McCain has called for an overhaul of the unemployment insurance program to help "displaced workers make ends meet between jobs and moving people quickly on to the next opportunity," according to his campaign website.
Some analysts say unemployment insurance is a particularly cost-effective program. A $1 increase in jobless benefits generates an estimated $1.64 in near-term gross domestic product, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Economy.com.