Unemployment Insurance: Congressional Scorecard Update

On January 7, the Senate voted to end debate on the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act S. 1845, sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed (RI-D), which extends long-term emergency unemployment benefits for three months at a cost of $6.5 billion.

To see how your senator voted, see WorkplaceChoice.org Congressional Scorecard here (VOTE 2).

The vote to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 1845 passed 60-37 with 3 no votes. Six Republican Senators voted with Democrats:

  1. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
  2. Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN)
  3. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
  4. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
  5. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  6. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

One Democrat and two Republicans abstained from voting:

  1. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
  2. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
  3. Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

Opposition to the vote is premised upon the following principles:

1. As written, S. 1845 would increase the federal debt by approximately $6.5 billion dollars over the course of just three months.

2. Unemployment insurance extensions over the past five years have kept a good 600,000 people out of the labor force, show studies from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

3. FY 2013 Department of Labor annual financial report finds that the agency made an estimated $7.7 billion in improper payments to unemployment insurance beneficiaries. According to Breitbart.com, “This means that 10.8 percent of the $90.2 billion spent on unemployment benefits in 2012 was paid by mistake, compared to 11.5 percent of the $66.7 billion spent on UI last year. More than $1 out of every $10 spent on UI recipients in 2013 was paid in error.”

In addition, as Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Aloysius Hogan remarked in a recent USA Today op-ed, “Extended unemployment benefits are disproportionately transferred to high-unionization, high-unemployment states such as California, Michigan, Illinois, New York and Massachusetts. And that amounts to political cronyism. Politicians in those heavily Democratic states could be pals of the current administration, but those states have a record of failure in putting people to work.”