Today, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to favorably report the Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits, and Services (JOBS) Act of 2011 by a vote of 20 to 14. The JOBS Act (H.R. 1745) has three main components: 1) provides States new flexibility in spending the remaining $31 billion in Federal unemployment funds that are available to States through the end of 2011, 2) prevents future tax hikes on jobs, and 3) sets new minimum standards that those receiving unemployment checks must engage in job search or education efforts. The legislation makes no changes to how a State's share of the $31 billion is spent unless a State affirmatively enacts legislation to do so.
The bill's three Republican sponsors, Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Ways and Means member Rick Berg (R-ND) issued the following joint statement following today's markup:
"Let's be clear about the goal of this initiative - getting people back to work. The current economic downturn has resulted in over 30 States being forced to borrow over $40 billion to pay promised unemployment benefits, which is leading directly to higher payroll taxes on jobs as States struggle to pay these loans back. The JOBS Act provides States new flexibility to decide how to spend their share of temporary unemployment funds - whether for preventing job-destroying tax hikes on employers, continuing the current extended benefits program in a State, paying down the interest or principal on Federal loans, or helping people get new reemployment services. It also makes permanent reforms to work and education standards so more unemployed individuals get back on the job quickly and at higher pay. Similar reforms were successfully implemented in the 1990s with welfare reform."