Thursday, November 20, 2008

Senate Approves Extending Unemployment Benefits - Bush Will Sign

The U.S. Senate today passed by unanimous consent a bill that will extend unemployment benefits to jobless Americans by up to 13 weeks. The legislation had passed the House of Representatives in October by a 368 to 28 vote.

This comes after the Labor Department reported today that claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level since 1992 and George W. Bush announced this afternoon that he will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.

“Because of the tight job market, the president believes it would be appropriate to further extend unemployment benefits, and he would sign the legislation,” said White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and a guy who has always been on the right side of working families, seemed to consider this a good welcome-back present as he returned to work in the Senate after being diagnosed with cancer.

“The Senate was right to act now to provide greater assistance for Americans who can’t find work," said Kennedy. "Today’s action is a vital step in repairing the tattered safety net for the millions of families struggling during these harsh economic times. But there is still much to be done, and I look forward to working with our new President and the new Congress early next year to do all we can to heal our stricken economy.”

Good news all around and an excellent thing to be bipartisan about right before the holidays.