GOP seeks new jobless insurance agency
A bipartisan proposal to expand unemployment insurance would allow for states to expand the programs eligibility, with the goal of providing some 100,000 more jobs in the next five years.
The proposal, which was released Wednesday, is part of a broader package of economic stimulus measures the GOP is working on to shore up the economy.
But the proposal is unlikely to garner enough support from Republican lawmakers to pass in its current form.
The Senate is expected to take up the proposal, known as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, this week.
The measure has a chance of passing with support from the House, but Republicans are likely to be more cautious on its prospects.
The GOP bill would expand unemployment benefits to some 30 million Americans, but the legislation would only provide up to $9,000 in benefits to those currently in the unemployment program.
The bill would also create a new job-training program for unemployed workers.
This new program, called the National Job Corps, would provide more than 100,500 job-ready apprenticeship programs to low-wage workers.
The new jobs program is aimed at creating jobs for people who need training for higher-paying jobs, but it could also be used to expand benefits to the roughly 100,800 unemployed Americans currently in unemployment.
The legislation would also expand the jobless program for a year, instead of the current three years, to provide additional job-finding assistance to those who need it most.
The provision to expand job-seeking assistance comes at a time when unemployment benefits have been on the decline.
The percentage of people in the program has declined by less than 10 percent since the end of 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But it remains far below the levels seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which were during the economic boom of the early 2000, according the BLS.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently revised its estimates of the economic impact of unemployment benefits, noting that the economic downturn may have played a role in this.
Republicans have argued that the recession of 2009-10 had a disproportionate impact on jobless benefits, saying that job losses were much greater than anticipated.
That theory has been bolstered by a series of new studies from the Congressional Budget Board, which found that the unemployment rate increased by more than 20 percent among people who were unemployed before the recession.
However, the CBO found that this increase was not enough to offset the negative economic impact that was caused by the recession, and said that job-hunting programs were not the best way to help those who were struggling to find work.