D.C.’s delegate to Congress introduced a bill today intended to lower the number of long-term unemployed by offering businesses incentives to hire those out of work the longest.
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), like many other House Dems, argued that an extension of the unemployment insurance benefits enacted to help with the downturn in 2008 should have been included in the Ryan-Murray budget agreement.
On the heels of that, she introduced legislation that would give employers a $5,000 tax credit against their payroll tax liability for each new net person hired who has been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.
“Even if the Republican majority allows a three-month extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program before it expires, my bill is necessary to ensure realistic prospects for the long-term unemployed,” said Norton. “By reducing unemployment with significant but realistic economic incentive to hire the long-term unemployed, my bill would keep an increasing number of Americans from losing their job skills and becoming permanently unemployed.”
Norton argues that with the credit earned quickly on quarterly payroll taxes, businesses would then lower the costs of their products, increase sales and hire new workers. Then the newly hired long-term unemployed would start rolling disposable income back into businesses.
In November 2013, the number of the long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was 4.1 million, which accounted for 37.3 percent of the unemployed.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today that he’ll bring the unemployment insurance extension to the floor when Congress returns from the holidays in January and he’ll try to make it retroactive.
“If it was the right thing to do when President George W. Bush did it, extended unemployment insurance benefits at a time when the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent and at a time when the average unemployed person was unemployed for 17 weeks, then it’s the right thing to do today, as it has been over the past several years since the Great Recession occurred,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters today.
“Even though the unemployment rate has been coming down, even though more Americans are going back to work, there are still too many Americans out of work and struggling to find work. Unemployment rate is 7 percent. It’s come down significantly, but it is still much too high.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said while they’re open to the idea of an extension, none of the pay-fors offered by the White House has been acceptable to offset the cost.