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cross-posted from Working America's Main Street blog where I am a featured guest blogger

A new jobs bill that the House expects to take up shortly includes a year-end extension of eligibility and continued future funding for all of the expanded federal unemployment insurance and COBRA programs.

Urgent action is needed to pass this legislation quickly, as eligibility for these critical programs is set to expire June 2 unless Congress acts.

More than 10 million Americans currently depend on unemployment insurance while they look for work, including 5.4 million who rely on the federal programs that extend jobless aid to those out of work longer than 26 weeks.

According to the Economic Policy Institute:

Nearly 46% of unemployed workers have been jobless for at least six months, representing the highest long-term unemployment rate in at least six decades. Those workers face dim employment prospects with well over five unemployed workers competing for every available job.

The bill being prepared in the House, H.R. 4213, is now called the Promoting American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010, and it includes not only the year-end unemployment and COBRA extensions, but a host of other major provisions designed to bolster jobs and recovery while making wealthy Wall Street traders and corporations finally pay their fair share in taxes.  I'll summarize shortly what's reported to be in the bill.

But first, you need to pick up the phone, call toll-free 888-254-5087 and tell your Representative to vote for H.R. 4213 -- the Promoting American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act.

Or go to Jobs for America Now, enter your phone number and click Call Congress NOW!

And tell them they must get this done before the Memorial Day recess.
Go ahead -- I'll wait....

OK, so let's take a look at what we expect to see in this new House jobs bill in addition to the year-end eligibility extensions for the federal unemployment insurance and COBRA subsidy programs.

The bill reportedly will include an extension of FMAP, the federal assistance to states for support of Medicaid, through mid-2011, as well as a one-year extension of the TANF Emergency Fund, which provides funds to states for employment programs and support for needy families.

It includes funding to support more than 350,000 summer jobs for young people ages 16 to 21, an age group that currently faces a 25 percent unemployment rate.

The bill would also support infrastructure investment to create jobs by extending Build America Bonds and other tax credit bonds to spur investment in economic recovery zones.

A five year extension of the so-called "doctor fix" to prevent reductions in Medicare payments, thus ensuring access to physician choice for seniors, is also expected in the bill.

Other provisions would extend the National Flood Insurance Program through the end of 2010; extend affordable small business lending programs and research and development tax credits for businesses supporting American jobs; extend tax relief to middle-class families and individuals; distribute funding for surface transportation projects; and support the National Housing Trust Fund to help build and maintain affordable rental housing.

So, what about the closing tax loopholes part?  This is good.  Really good.

Significant parts of the bill would be paid for by eliminating the tax incentives that encourage companies to ship American jobs overseas.  The bill would prevent corporations from using current U.S. foreign tax credit rules to subsidize their foreign activities, and close a host of corporate tax loopholes that allow companies to avoid paying U.S. taxes through a variety of foreign tax credit schemes.

But here's the best part.  You know how working folks are required to pay regular income and employment taxes?  Even if you are unemployed you likely have to pay the regular income tax on your unemployment insurance payments.  But wealthy investment fund managers don't.  No siree.  The fees they "earn" are taxed as so-called "carried interest", a tax loophole that allows their income to be taxed at only 15 percent, as if it were capital gains.

Super-rich hedge fund managers, private equity fund managers and other high-flying Wall Street traders pay a much lower tax rate than working people do -- even if you're on unemployment!  And taxpayers are left holding the bag for an estimated $2 billion a year in lost revenues due to this one loophole.

Well, they helped bring down the economy while making out like bandits -- and now it's high time they paid their fair share.  This jobs bill would close their "carried interest" tax loophole.

The Center for American Progress has a good overview of the expected legislation posted today.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has an excellent report on why the legislation is needed, and why budgetary objections to it are misplaced and economically wrong-headed.

Originally posted to catchlightning on Wed May 19, 2010 at 03:21 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  what about states? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bgblcklab1

    NY is about to fire thousands of teachers.

    The public option will live on. Don't surrender.

    by owl06 on Wed May 19, 2010 at 03:24:13 PM PDT

    •  I have not seen details on state fiscal aid (5+ / 0-)

      but I believe it's in there in addition to the FMAP and TANF funds.  It should be, but probably not enough.

      Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

      by catchlightning on Wed May 19, 2010 at 03:27:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  CAP says it should but it's unclear (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, owl06, soms, bgblcklab1

      from this:

      Why should the bill include fiscal relief for states?

      Provisions in the extenders bill that would provide aid to states are critical for saving jobs for teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other civil servants, and preserving health programs. States are facing severe fiscal crises due to the perfect storm of lower tax revenues and rising need from chronic unemployment. States are facing budget gaps totaling $140 billion as they prepare their fiscal year 2011 budgets. If left unaddressed, these budget gaps could cost the economy up to 900,000 jobs next year. These are jobs that we all rely on in our communities: the teachers who instruct our children, the police officers and firefighters who protect our communities, and the social service workers who administer our programs.

      Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

      by catchlightning on Wed May 19, 2010 at 03:32:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have to support all the free spending states.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ManhattanMan, ColoTim

        Sort of a Greek tragedy coming home to roost or how to live beyond your means and thrive

        "Course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough." Noah Cross - Chinatown

        by LakePipes on Wed May 19, 2010 at 03:34:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The states... (0+ / 0-)

      ...need to quit whining and raise taxes.

  •  'It's MY economy stupid'..gotta make it personal. (3+ / 0-)
  •  A bill this complex will never make it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soms

    through in just a couple of weeks - not through the House, Senate and conference.  They need to focus on just the parts that are running out, because the rest of the stuff, including closing loopholes, even as a way to pay for this, will get nowhere in the Senate with the Republicans and corporate Democrats blocking it.

    •  According to THOMAS (0+ / 0-)

      and the Majority Leader's office website, the Senate already passed it, with amendments.  The House is preparing to vote to concur with the Senate Amendments.

      I am hungry for some unrest, I want to push this beyond a peaceful protest, I wanna speak in a language that they'll understand

      by AnakinSkywalker on Wed May 19, 2010 at 06:54:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Diarist says this is a new bill (0+ / 0-)

        though I recall reading about what you're talking about.  I didn't realize that they're the same thing, after reading the diary.  I thought the one I had previously heard about was just an extension of unemployment benefits and didn't have all these other things.

        I'll still be amazed if this gets through.

        •  this is a major revision of the original HR 4213 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim

          which first passed the House and then a different version passed the Senate back in March.  It was generically referred to as the "tax extenders" bill -- containing extensions of the Recovery Act tax credit provisions as well as the UI and other safety net programs.  But a funding element in that bill was subsequently gobbled up in the health care reconciliation bill.  So a new version was needed.

          Meanwhile the two-month emergency UI/COBRA extension was (finally) passed in April after the Spring recess.  That's the one that expires June 2.

          House Democrats seem to have gone back and taken the safety net extensions through the end of the year, the tax extenders provisions, and added extensions to other Recovery Act provisions (infrastructure, TANF, etc) that were part of a $154b jobs bill the House passed last Dec. (which was never acted on in the Senate).  They also added the closing tax loopholes provisions, which is key.

          Let's hope they've already worked this out with Senate Democratic leaders so it doesn't get gummed up.  Otherwise, they will need to split out the safety net stuff and pass that all separately by the end of May.

          Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

          by catchlightning on Thu May 20, 2010 at 04:22:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  THOMAS is misleading on this one because (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim

        the versions that passed the House and Senate previously were vastly different from this one.  They never conferenced on the previous version.  This one is Sander Levin's substitute, with a new name but the same HR 4213 number.  And I don't think THOMAS has been updated, as I think Levin is waiting for some agreements to be reached before re-introducing it.

        Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

        by catchlightning on Thu May 20, 2010 at 04:26:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What about the COBRA extensions? (0+ / 0-)

    You say they are in the bill but don't give any details.

    •  The COBRA provisions would extend eligibility to (0+ / 0-)

      file for the up-to-fifteen-month 65% federal COBRA payment subsidy for newly unemployed workers through the end of 2010.  It does not extend the duration of the subsidy.

      If you're currently unemployed and have been receiving the subsidy (which basically means your COBRA administrator bills you for 35% of the monthly insurance premiums) you will continue to receive it for up to 15 months.

      Assuming this passes, if you become unemployed before Dec. 31, 2010 you will be able to file for the COBRA subsidy and receive that benefit for up to 15 months.

      Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

      by catchlightning on Thu May 20, 2010 at 04:31:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tier 5 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, pvlb, melpomene1

    Is there any mention of a Tier 5 extension?  There are the 99'ers falling into the cracks everyday.

  •  Will this be revenue-neutral/ pay-as-u-go? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catchlightning

    I like the provisions in the bill, and I like all the efforst to close the outrageous tax loopholes. But I wonder if the extra tax revenue expected is enough to cover the funding for both unemployment & Medicare doctors' reimbursement.

    •  Unemployment and the other safety net (0+ / 0-)

      provisions -- as well as the doctor's "fix" as far as I can tell -- would be considered emergency spending and therefore not PAYGO-applicable.  The tax credit extensions, though, are what I believe are paid for with the closing-tax-loopholes provisions.

      Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

      by catchlightning on Thu May 20, 2010 at 04:41:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need a WPA. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    I'd love to see funding for mass transit projects. No getting the steel from China either or any other country besides the U.S. unless we absolutely have to.

    I like some of the things in the bill but it needs MAJOR work.

    Giving money to states to prevent layoffs of state workers would be great.

    We need vouchers up to $500-600 for appliances made in the USA. No money for appliances not made in the United States.

  •  Actually, those federal programs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, catchlightning

    only extend jobless aid to SOME OF those out of work longer than 26 weeks.

    How about a provision in the bill that enforces age discrimination laws, or that gives a double tax break for hiring the chronically unemployed and/or those over 50?

    If they are going to pat themselves on the back for extending unemployment benefits, they need to extend them to everyone who needs them, not just some percentage of those who are out of work.

    I see some economists and pundits are finally admitting that yes, some of those over 50 who lose their jobs may never work again. How about money for those people, since you can bet your ass private industry isn't going to be hiring them at any wage. The companies' insurance costs would be too high. And it's a damn long time until those 50-year-olds are eligible for Medicare and Social Security.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Wed May 19, 2010 at 06:28:25 PM PDT

    •  I agree completely (0+ / 0-)

      and despite the fact that new anti-age-discrimination legislation has been proposed -- see my post Older Workers Fighting on Many Fronts -- to counter last year's Supreme Court ruling in Gross v FBL Financial, nothing has been proposed as yet to invest in the potential represented by older workers -- particularly older unemployed workers.

      This could, should and must be done.  Despite the higher unemployment percentage rates of the 16 to 24 yr old and 25 to 54 yr old groups, the fact is that the number of 55 and over unemployed has increased at a much faster rate than that of the younger groups in this recession.

      From April 2008 to April 2010 the number of unemployed over 55 has increased by 152 percent versus 105% for the 25-54s and 72% for 16-24s.

      I would like to see a targeted combination of income support, training in things like online communications, writing and research, educational services and the like as well as placement aid and self-employment assistance.

      Other ideas?

      Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

      by catchlightning on Thu May 20, 2010 at 04:58:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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