House Passes Extension Of Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) tonight joined 402 members of the House of Representatives to pass legislation that will extend unemployment benefits for millions of workers looking for employment. The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extends by 14 weeks unemployment benefits for individuals who have exhausted their current benefits in all states and by an additional six weeks for individuals who live in states, like New Jersey, with an unemployment rates above 8.5 percent. The bill has passed both houses of Congress and is soon expected to be signed into law by President Obama.
"During this recession, unemployment insurance has been a lifeline for millions of Americans and New Jersey residents. It has kept a roof over their head and food on the table," Holt said. "In this tight job market and with the economy just starting to show signs of recovery, there are still six unemployed workers for each job opening and more than five million people who have been unemployed for more than six months. Extending these benefits is the right thing to do for our families."
Once this bill is signed into law, it is estimated that the extension of unemployment benefits will help more than 1.3 million out of work employees, including more than 41,000 from New Jersey.
Economists have studied unemployment benefits and have determined that extending them is one of the most cost-effective and immediate ways to stimulate the economy, as money is spent quickly. According to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Economy.com, every $1 spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in immediate economic demand. Additionally, the bill would not add to the deficit.
"I hear all the time from Central New Jersey residents who are working hard each day to find a new job," Holt said. "Recently, a Mercer County resident wrote me to say his wife had been out of work for 11 months. As he wrote, The jobs are just not available for her to go back to work.' This bill answers his plea and the pleas of countless other out of work New Jersey residents to extend unemployment benefits while they continue to search for employment."
In addition to extending unemployment benefits, the bill extends the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit through April 30, 2010, allowing purchasers under a binding contract an additional 60 days to close after that date. Additionally, it will provide a $6,500 credit to new purchasers who have lived in their current residence for five years or more out of the previous eight years. The bill would also increase the income limits on the credit to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for joint filers (the current law credit phases out for individuals with income starting at $75,000 and for joint filers with income starting at $150,000).