Jobless Benefits under Attack | Boehner offers Alternative Plan
Feb 1, 2012 – Following Decembers temporary 2-month extension of the governments Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) bill, House Speaker Boehner has offered up a revised 13-month extension which Democrats vow a fight.
Boehner’s plan includes drastic changes to the entire unemployment system including allowing states to allocate federal unemployment extension funds for other projects. Amongst other initiatives the Speaker has offered include, excluding those that have not completed their High School diploma or received a General Education Degree (GED) from collecting federal unemployment compensation.
Additionally, the speakers plan includes mandatory drug testing on all unemployment recipients although, the means for paying for these additional tests are unavailable. Boehner also intends to allow states with the highest unemployment rates to slash in half, unemployment extension benefits sent to the respective states recipients.
The measures under the speakers plan would automatically cut-off benefits to nearly 2.8 million unemployed Americans according to a statement released by ranking House Ways and Means Committee member, Rep. Leven Sanders (D-MI).
Earlier, the Speaker announced plans of attaching the controversial pipeline bill, the “Keystone Oil Pipeline Project” to any bill leaving the House. The project would deliver oil extracted from sand reserves in Canada to Gulf Coast states for refining. The project has some environmental drawbacks but is far safer than “fracking” proposals being pushed by the White House. Obama has threatened to veto any bill with the Keystone Project attached.
The controversy surrounding the current Boehner proposal is being hammered out by both House and Senate members but still falls short of answering the unemployment situation in America. In December 2010, Obama signed a bill extending the EUC program through the end of 2011 succumbing to Republican pressures to extend the “Bush Era” tax cuts to the nations wealthy, the GOP promised this measure would create American jobs, to date it has not.
Department of Labor statistics scheduled for release this Friday indicate that unemployment levels declined to 8.5 percent for December, the lowest level since the mass loss of jobs began late 2006 however, there are indications the number of unemployed will rise in January due to the end of traditional holiday seasonal hiring.