About the Unemployment Insurance Extension

Gabriel Malor
Ace of Spades HQ

I’ve been seeing this error in media reports and the blogosphere all day, particularly from folks like Hugh Hewitt complaining about the absurdity of 13 more months of “paid unemployment” tacked onto the existing 99 weeks, so just as a point of clarification:

The tax deal would extend the federal unemployment payments scheme for another 13 months. It would not add 13 months of payment eligibility to the current 99 weeks authorized by federal law. I agree with Hewitt that 161 weeks of unemployment insurance would be absurd. Fortunately, that’s not part of the tax cut deal.

Some unemployed are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. First come 26 weeks of state benefits. Then, if the individual is still unemployed, he may apply for federal benefits. These federal “extensions”, referred to as “tiers”, get progressively shorter from 20 weeks at Tier 1 to 6 weeks at Tier 4. Then come 20 weeks of “Extended Benefits” which were tacked on by Obama last year. When an individual finishes his 20 weeks of Extended Benefits, he can’t get any more federal unemployment assistance. The 99 weeks number comes from adding up the state benefits, plus the Tiers and EB.

However, the program was not funded past this month. The funding scheme was set up so that individuals can finish receiving assistance for whichever tier they are on, but cannot apply for the next tier after November 30. EB payments are to halt completely on December 12…

…Here’s some background on unemployment insurance that describes the scheme and its imminent expiration.

So far, the Hill, OpenCongress, and Las Vegas’ KTVN have correctly described the unemployment insurance extension. Other media, including CNN, ABC News, and Fox News keep incorrectly reporting that the unemployment insurance extension in the deal will add 13 months of coverage to the existing 99 weeks…

The complete article is at the Ace of Spades.

Update: From another article at Ace:

Obama is taking credit for the payroll tax cut idea and calming it is part of the concessions he got from the GOP as part of the overall agreement to keep tax rates steady but that’s simply BS.

Remember during the debate over the so called “stimulus” bill when Obama said the GOP didn’t have any ideas and simply was saying no to everything? That was always a lie, the GOP did have an alternative plan and guess what was item number one in it (pdf)?

…Imagine what the last two years would have been like had the stimulus actually been used in ways that stimulated the economy and not as a means to pay off Democratic interest groups.

Update 2: Hugh Hewitt interviewed Senator Jim DeMint who says he opposes “the deal”:

“…it does appear to me that there are going to be problems on the left and the right with this bill. And they’re going to, as they do with so many things here, Hugh, make it a Christmas tree. Harry Reid’s already trying to legalize online gambling using this tax agreement. That isn’t going to happen, but he is trying to work that through to give a payback to the gambling interests that helped elect him.”

HotAir has more about DeMint’s opposition.

Update 3: The Unifying President calls Republicans “hostage takers.”

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