House sends bill extending federal unemployment insurance benefits to Senate

Posted on July 1, 2010

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed an extension of federal unemployment insurance benefits, placing the issue again before the U.S. Senate as Congress leaves for a weeklong break for the Fourth of July holiday.

H.R. 5618 would extend the emergency unemployment compensation and extended benefits programs through Nov. 30.

The legislation would retroactively restore benefits to recipients who as early as the end of May may have started losing their benefits.

In a statement, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, a sponsor of the bill, said the measure needs to be “the first item of business” when the Senate returns.

Unemployment extensions have seen defeat in the U.S. Senate amid strong Republican opposition.

Michigan officials have said that with no extensions approved, they expect the numbers of people exhausting benefits to rapidly climb.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency estimates that 87,000 people in Michigan will exhaust their jobless benefits by July 3, and that number would double by the end of July.

By the end of the year, the number of Michigan people affected by the expiration of federal UI benefit extensions would exceed the 408,000 that are currently collecting state or federally funded unemployment benefits, the state said.

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