Press Releases

Congress Passes Extension of Unemployment Benefits

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Washington, November 5, 2009 | HELEN MACHADO (202 225-1766) | comments

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) voted to stimulate the local economy and provide stability to families hit hardest by the recession by extending unemployment benefits, the homebuyers’ tax credit, and tax relief for military families and businesses.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (HR 3548) now heads to the President for his signature.  The legislation passed the House by a vote of 403 to 12.  The Senate passed the legislation November 4 by a vote of 98 to 0.

The legislation will extend relief to millions of workers, families, and businesses nationwide.

“With unemployment in California at 12.2 percent in September, among the highest in the nation, the unemployment extension of 20 weeks included in this legislation provides critical relief to families struggling to buy groceries and make their mortgage payments,” Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said.  “I am also pleased the legislation continues to encourage first-time homeownership through the extension of the homebuyer tax credit.  Both of these efforts are essential to strengthening the housing market and our economy.”

The Congressional Budget Office has cited unemployment benefits as one of the most cost-effective forms of economic stimulus, and every dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in new demand, according to Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi.
The legislation will provide families in all states with 14 weeks of additional benefits, and six more weeks to the 27 states with the highest unemployment rates, including California. 

The bill includes an extension of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit through April 30, 2010 and provides a $6,500 credit to these homeowners who have lived in their current residence for five years or more. It also helps military families struggling to make mortgage payments by making those payments tax-exempt.

To breathe life back into American businesses suffering from huge losses, this bill also allows U.S. companies to carry back losses incurred in either 2008 or 2009 against income earned in any of the five prior years.   

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