Senator introduces bill to extend jobless benefits

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A Democrat-sponsored bill to extend unemployment benefits through 2011 was introduced in the Senate Monday, but it is likely to face stiff opposition from Republicans.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Max Baucus, D-Mont., said in a statement that the proposed legislation would reauthorize benefits for nearly 800,000 out-of-work Americans who are about to exhaust their benefits next week.

Should Congress extend the deadline to file for up to 99 weeks in unemployment benefits?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

The $56.4 billion measure would also extend benefits for 2 million more Americans facing the same fate by the end of the year, he said.

"Unemployment benefits are the only lifeline many workers in Montana and across the nation have left in this tough economy," said Baucus. "These benefits help millions of Americans put food on the table and roofs over their heads -- pumping money into our economy and helping to create jobs."

However, the bill could face heavy resistance from Republican lawmakers, who are reluctant to pass measures that increase the nation's deficit. The federal government has already spent $109 billion on jobless benefits over the past three years.

Earlier this month, the House failed to pass a bill that would have given the unemployed three more months to file for extended jobless benefits.

The $12.5 billion House bill would have extended the deadline to file for federal unemployment benefits to Feb. 28, sparing 4 million people from falling off the rolls. The deadline is currently Nov. 30.

Federal jobless payments, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

Congress has extended the deadline to file those applications four times in the past year. The last jobless benefits extension -- which lasted six months and cost $34 billion -- faced a lot of opposition on deficit-conscious Capitol Hill before it finally passed in mid-July.

Roughly 14.8 million Americans are unemployed, with about 6.2 million of them out of work for at least 27 weeks. About 8.5 million people are collecting unemployment insurance.

As the nation's lackluster economic recovery grinds on, a growing number of the jobless are exhausting their benefits. Precise numbers are hard to come by, but estimates show that about 3.5 million people have fallen off the rolls, though some of them have landed work.

-- CNNMoney.com senior writer Tami Luhby contributed to this report.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,262.56 89.32 0.55%
Nasdaq 4,034.16 11.47 0.29%
S&P 500 1,842.98 12.37 0.68%
Treasuries 2.63 -0.01 -0.42%
Data as of 7:30am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.39 0.40 2.47%
Facebook Inc 59.09 0.20 0.34%
Yahoo! Inc 34.21 0.76 2.29%
The Coca-Cola Co 40.18 1.45 3.74%
Intel Corp 26.77 0.21 0.79%
Data as of Apr 15
Sponsors

Sections

Starbucks will pay more tax in the U.K. after moving its European headquarters to London from Amsterdam at the end of this year. More

Observers are warning that risks of a blow up in China's property market are rising, threatening a slowdown that could hurt global growth. More

Yahoo is still in the midst of its turnaround, but investors liked what they saw in the company's first-quarter results. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

Pamela Knighton, a 51-year-old social worker from Cuthbert, Ga. who earns less than $25,000 a year, had been really looking forward to her $4,300 tax refund last year. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.