Press Releases | Budget, Taxes, and Public Investment

News from EPI Key Provisions that Senate Should Include in ‘Extenders’ Legislation

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Contact: Karen Conner or Eve Turow, 202-775-8810

This week the Senate is expected to consider tax ‘extender’ legislation that the House approved in May. The House legislation omitted critical provisions that would have extended health insurance subsidies for unemployed workers and provided much-needed funding to states to help pay for health care for low-income families. The House did vote to renew extended unemployment insurance, but through November rather than through the end of the year.

The Economic Policy Institute has issued a number of studies and snapshots on the benefits of the health insurance subsidies, aid to states, and unemployment insurance. This research demonstrates that these programs are not only critical to helping families make ends meet during this severe labor market crisis, but are also essential to creating jobs and helping the economy recover. For more information, please consult the following resources.

For a more in-depth overview of the issues by EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey, click here. This overview estimated that provisions of the original House legislation (H.R. 4213) would have helped to create or save more than 1 million jobs.

Cobra health insurance subsidies. Unless Congress extends the 65% Cobra subsidies first included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, unemployed workers could find that the costs of their family’s health insurance premiums eat up most or all of their unemployment insurance, as this EPI snapshot shows.

Unemployment insurance. Five million unemployed workers will exhaust their unemployment insurance by the end of 2010 unless Congress renews an extension of benefits, including 1.2 million workers who will lose their benefits by the end of June, as this EPI snapshot shows. Unemployment insurance also creates jobs, helps accelerate the economy’s recovery, and can provide other broader economic benefits. For more information, click here.

Failing to renew these crucial programs would threaten an economic recovery, cost more jobs, and deny American families the support they need at a time when jobs are scarce: There are more than five jobless workers for every available opening. However, renewing these programs is not enough. We need to create 11 million jobs to get back to 5% unemployment. This will require much more aggressive action to create jobs.

Congress should pass the Local Jobs for America Act, which would create private sector and public sector jobs in communities throughout the country. The legislation will help reduce an imminent wave of layoffs by local governments – including layoffs of teachers, police officers, and firefighters. And the legislation will recoup a significant share of its own cost, greatly reducing its deficit impact.