The emerging deal would retroactively restore for five months long-term unemployment benefits that expired in December. The legislation would be paid for by an extension of U.S. Customs fees established by the recent budget deal and by making changes to federal pension programs over the next 10 years. The legislation would prohibit millionaires and billionaires from drawing unemployment benefits and also provide for enhanced job training and placement programs.Anytime you hear that pensions are being played with, it's usually going to be either terrible or a gimmick. Meanwhile, people who earned $1 million or more also paid into unemployment insurance, and taking a program away from rich people tends, over time, to make it vulnerable to attack. Still, extending unemployment aid to people who've been unemployed for six months or more in this weak jobs economy is an incredibly important aim.
While GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois exuded confidence that the legislation would be bipartisan, Democratic aides did not immediately confirm that they’re members had yet signed off.
While the plan is being announced Thursday afternoon, it won't be happening in a hurry, as the Senate is leaving for its St. Patrick's Day recess. Then it would still have to get through the Republican-controlled House.