Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), along with Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Human Resources Subcommittee member Rick Berg (R-ND), introduced the Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services (JOBS) Act of 2011 (HR 1745) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Identical legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Like the Ways and Means Committee in the House, the Finance Committee has jurisdiction over unemployment benefit issues in the Senate.
The JOBS Act provides States new flexibility in spending the remaining $31 billion in Federal unemployment funds that will be spent during the rest of this year. Under current law, that money could only be spent for unemployment benefits stretching up to 99 weeks in many States. Under the JOBS Act, States could also use the money to prevent job-destroying unemployment tax hikes or for programs designed to get unemployed workers back on the job. Under the bill there will be no changes to how a State's share of the $31 billion is spent unless a State affirmatively enacts legislation to do so.
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Ways and Means Member Rep. Berg added, "The JOBS Act offers common sense reforms that recognize a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work. Every State has different needs, and the JOBS Act will give States the freedom to use federal unemployment funds in ways that will best assist their residents--whether by investing in reemployment resources or averting unemployment tax hikes that hurt employers' ability to create jobs. By providing States with more flexibility, they can wisely use funds to help strengthen our economy and get Americans back to work."