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110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     110-607

======================================================================
 
        EMERGENCY EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ACT OF 2008

                                _______
                                

 April 24, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Rangel, from the Committee on Ways and Means, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 5749]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Ways and Means, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 5749) to provide for a program of emergency 
unemployment compensation, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Emergency Extended 
Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Federal-State agreements.
Sec. 3. Emergency unemployment compensation account.
Sec. 4. Payments to States having agreements for the payment of 
emergency unemployment compensation.
Sec. 5. Financing provisions.
Sec. 6. Fraud and overpayments.
Sec. 7. Definitions.
Sec. 8. Applicability.

SEC. 2. FEDERAL-STATE AGREEMENTS.

  (a) In General.--Any State which desires to do so may enter into and 
participate in an agreement under this Act with the Secretary of Labor 
(in this Act referred to as the ``Secretary''). Any State which is a 
party to an agreement under this Act may, upon providing 30 days' 
written notice to the Secretary, terminate such agreement.
  (b) Provisions of Agreement.--Any agreement under subsection (a) 
shall provide that the State agency of the State will make payments of 
emergency unemployment compensation to individuals who--
          (1) have exhausted all rights to regular compensation under 
        the State law or under Federal law with respect to a benefit 
        year (excluding any benefit year that ended before May 1, 
        2007);
          (2) have no rights to regular compensation or extended 
        compensation with respect to a week under such law or any other 
        State unemployment compensation law or to compensation under 
        any other Federal law (except as provided under subsection 
        (e)); and
          (3) are not receiving compensation with respect to such week 
        under the unemployment compensation law of Canada.
  (c) Exhaustion of Benefits.--For purposes of subsection (b)(1), an 
individual shall be deemed to have exhausted such individual's rights 
to regular compensation under a State law when--
          (1) no payments of regular compensation can be made under 
        such law because such individual has received all regular 
        compensation available to such individual based on employment 
        or wages during such individual's base period; or
          (2) such individual's rights to such compensation have been 
        terminated by reason of the expiration of the benefit year with 
        respect to which such rights existed.
  (d) Weekly Benefit Amount, Etc.--For purposes of any agreement under 
this Act--
          (1) the amount of emergency unemployment compensation which 
        shall be payable to any individual for any week of total 
        unemployment shall be equal to the amount of the regular 
        compensation (including dependents' allowances) payable to such 
        individual during such individual's benefit year under the 
        State law for a week of total unemployment;
          (2) the terms and conditions of the State law which apply to 
        claims for regular compensation and to the payment thereof 
        shall apply to claims for emergency unemployment compensation 
        and the payment thereof, except where otherwise inconsistent 
        with the provisions of this Act or with the regulations or 
        operating instructions of the Secretary promulgated to carry 
        out this Act; and
          (3) the maximum amount of emergency unemployment compensation 
        payable to any individual for whom an emergency unemployment 
        compensation account is established under section 3 shall not 
        exceed the amount established in such account for such 
        individual.
  (e) Election by States.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
Federal law (and if State law permits), the Governor of a State that is 
in an extended benefit period may provide for the payment of emergency 
unemployment compensation prior to extended compensation to individuals 
who otherwise meet the requirements of this section.

SEC. 3. EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ACCOUNT.

  (a) In General.--Any agreement under this Act shall provide that the 
State will establish, for each eligible individual who files an 
application for emergency unemployment compensation, an emergency 
unemployment compensation account with respect to such individual's 
benefit year.
  (b) Amount in Account.--
          (1) In general.--The amount established in an account under 
        subsection (a) shall be equal to the lesser of--
                  (A) 50 percent of the total amount of regular 
                compensation (including dependents' allowances) payable 
                to the individual during the individual's benefit year 
                under such law, or
                  (B) 13 times the individual's average weekly benefit 
                amount for the benefit year.
          (2) Weekly benefit amount.--For purposes of this subsection, 
        an individual's weekly benefit amount for any week is the 
        amount of regular compensation (including dependents' 
        allowances) under the State law payable to such individual for 
        such week for total unemployment.
  (c) Special Rule.--
          (1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this 
        section, if, at the time that the individual's account is 
        exhausted or at any time thereafter, such individual's State is 
        in an extended benefit period (as determined under paragraph 
        (2)), then, such account shall be augmented by an amount equal 
        to the amount originally established in such account (as 
        determined under subsection (b)(1)).
          (2) Extended benefit period.--For purposes of paragraph (1), 
        a State shall be considered to be in an extended benefit 
        period, as of any given time, if--
                  (A) such a period is then in effect for such State 
                under the Federal-State Extended Unemployment 
                Compensation Act of 1970;
                  (B) such a period would then be in effect for such 
                State under such Act if section 203(d) of such Act--
                          (i) were applied by substituting ``4'' for 
                        ``5'' each place it appears; and
                          (ii) did not include the requirement under 
                        paragraph (1)(A); or
                  (C) such a period would then be in effect for such 
                State under such Act if--
                          (i) section 203(f) of such Act were applied 
                        to such State (regardless of whether the State 
                        by law had provided for such application); and
                          (ii) such section 203(f)--
                                  (I) were applied by substituting 
                                ``6.0'' for ``6.5'' in paragraph 
                                (1)(A)(i); and
                                  (II) did not include the requirement 
                                under paragraph (1)(A)(ii).

SEC. 4. PAYMENTS TO STATES HAVING AGREEMENTS FOR THE PAYMENT OF 
                    EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION.

  (a) General Rule.--There shall be paid to each State that has entered 
into an agreement under this Act an amount equal to 100 percent of the 
emergency unemployment compensation paid to individuals by the State 
pursuant to such agreement.
  (b) Treatment of Reimbursable Compensation.--No payment shall be made 
to any State under this section in respect of any compensation to the 
extent the State is entitled to reimbursement in respect of such 
compensation under the provisions of any Federal law other than this 
Act or chapter 85 of title 5, United States Code. A State shall not be 
entitled to any reimbursement under such chapter 85 in respect of any 
compensation to the extent the State is entitled to reimbursement under 
this Act in respect of such compensation.
  (c) Determination of Amount.--Sums payable to any State by reason of 
such State having an agreement under this Act shall be payable, either 
in advance or by way of reimbursement (as may be determined by the 
Secretary), in such amounts as the Secretary estimates the State will 
be entitled to receive under this Act for each calendar month, reduced 
or increased, as the case may be, by any amount by which the Secretary 
finds that the Secretary's estimates for any prior calendar month were 
greater or less than the amounts which should have been paid to the 
State. Such estimates may be made on the basis of such statistical, 
sampling, or other method as may be agreed upon by the Secretary and 
the State agency of the State involved.

SEC. 5. FINANCING PROVISIONS.

  (a) In General.--Funds in the extended unemployment compensation 
account (as established by section 905(a) of the Social Security Act 
(42 U.S.C. 1105(a)) of the Unemployment Trust Fund (as established by 
section 904(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1104(a)) shall be used for the 
making of payments to States having agreements entered into under this 
Act.
  (b) Certification.--The Secretary shall from time to time certify to 
the Secretary of the Treasury for payment to each State the sums 
payable to such State under this Act. The Secretary of the Treasury, 
prior to audit or settlement by the Government Accountability Office, 
shall make payments to the State in accordance with such certification, 
by transfers from the extended unemployment compensation account (as so 
established) to the account of such State in the Unemployment Trust 
Fund (as so established).
  (c) Assistance to States.--There are appropriated out of the 
employment security administration account (as established by section 
901(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1101(a)) of the 
Unemployment Trust Fund, without fiscal year limitation, such funds as 
may be necessary for purposes of assisting States (as provided in title 
III of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 501 et seq.)) in meeting the 
costs of administration of agreements under this Act.
  (d) Appropriations for Certain Payments.--There are appropriated from 
the general fund of the Treasury, without fiscal year limitation, to 
the extended unemployment compensation account (as so established) of 
the Unemployment Trust Fund (as so established) such sums as the 
Secretary estimates to be necessary to make the payments under this 
section in respect of--
          (1) compensation payable under chapter 85 of title 5, United 
        States Code; and
          (2) compensation payable on the basis of services to which 
        section 3309(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 
        applies.
Amounts appropriated pursuant to the preceding sentence shall not be 
required to be repaid.

SEC. 6. FRAUD AND OVERPAYMENTS.

  (a) In General.--If an individual knowingly has made, or caused to be 
made by another, a false statement or representation of a material 
fact, or knowingly has failed, or caused another to fail, to disclose a 
material fact, and as a result of such false statement or 
representation or of such nondisclosure such individual has received an 
amount of emergency unemployment compensation under this Act to which 
he was not entitled, such individual--
          (1) shall be ineligible for further emergency unemployment 
        compensation under this Act in accordance with the provisions 
        of the applicable State unemployment compensation law relating 
        to fraud in connection with a claim for unemployment 
        compensation; and
          (2) shall be subject to prosecution under section 1001 of 
        title 18, United States Code.
  (b) Repayment.--In the case of individuals who have received amounts 
of emergency unemployment compensation under this Act to which they 
were not entitled, the State shall require such individuals to repay 
the amounts of such emergency unemployment compensation to the State 
agency, except that the State agency may waive such repayment if it 
determines that--
          (1) the payment of such emergency unemployment compensation 
        was without fault on the part of any such individual; and
          (2) such repayment would be contrary to equity and good 
        conscience.
  (c) Recovery by State Agency.--
          (1) In general.--The State agency may recover the amount to 
        be repaid, or any part thereof, by deductions from any 
        emergency unemployment compensation payable to such individual 
        under this Act or from any unemployment compensation payable to 
        such individual under any State or Federal unemployment 
        compensation law administered by the State agency or under any 
        other Federal law administered by the State agency which 
        provides for the payment of any assistance or allowance with 
        respect to any week of unemployment, during the 3-year period 
        after the date such individuals received the payment of the 
        emergency unemployment compensation to which they were not 
        entitled, except that no single deduction may exceed 50 percent 
        of the weekly benefit amount from which such deduction is made.
          (2) Opportunity for hearing.--No repayment shall be required, 
        and no deduction shall be made, until a determination has been 
        made, notice thereof and an opportunity for a fair hearing has 
        been given to the individual, and the determination has become 
        final.
  (d) Review.--Any determination by a State agency under this section 
shall be subject to review in the same manner and to the same extent as 
determinations under the State unemployment compensation law, and only 
in that manner and to that extent.

SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act, the terms ``compensation'', ``regular compensation'', 
``extended compensation'', ``additional compensation'', ``benefit 
year'', ``base period'', ``State'', ``State agency'', ``State law'', 
and ``week'' have the respective meanings given such terms under 
section 205 of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act 
of 1970 (26 U.S.C. 3304 note).

SEC. 8. APPLICABILITY.

  (a) In General.--Except as provided in subsection (b), an agreement 
entered into under this Act shall apply to weeks of unemployment--
          (1) beginning after the date on which such agreement is 
        entered into; and
          (2) ending on or before February 1, 2009.
  (b) Transition for Amount Remaining in Account.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), in the 
        case of an individual who has amounts remaining in an account 
        established under section 3 as of the last day of the last week 
        (as determined in accordance with the applicable State law) 
        ending on or before February 1, 2009, emergency unemployment 
        compensation shall continue to be payable to such individual 
        from such amounts for any week beginning after such last day 
        for which the individual meets the eligibility requirements of 
        this Act.
          (2) Limit on augmentation.--If the account of an individual 
        is exhausted after the last day of such last week (as so 
        determined), then section 3(c) shall not apply and such account 
        shall not be augmented under such section, regardless of 
        whether such individual's State is in an extended benefit 
        period (as determined under paragraph (2) of such section).
          (3) Limit on compensation.--No compensation shall be payable 
        by reason of paragraph (1) for any week beginning after April 
        30, 2009.

                       I. SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The bill, H.R. 5749, as amended, would establish a 
temporary program providing extended unemployment benefits in 
every State to individuals exhausting their regular 
unemployment compensation. States would enter into agreements 
with the Federal government to provide these benefits. The 
weekly benefit amount provided by the program would equal the 
amount received under regular unemployment compensation. The 
terms and conditions for regular unemployment compensation also 
would apply to these extended benefits. An individual's benefit 
year for regular compensation must have ended on or after May 
1, 2007 for the individual to be eligible for extended benefits 
under the program.
    The duration of these extended benefits would equal the 
lesser of 13 weeks or half the duration of regular unemployment 
compensation. In States with high unemployment, defined in the 
bill as at least 6% total unemployment or 4% insured 
unemployment, an additional 13 weeks of extended benefits would 
be provided for a total of 26 weeks. The benefit and 
administrative costs of the program would be fully financed by 
the Federal unemployment accounts. The program would terminate 
on February 1, 2009. However, any individual receiving benefits 
through the program before that date would be eligible for 
their entire 13-week benefit.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Over the first three months of 2008, the U.S. economy lost 
a total of 232,000 jobs. With the labor market in such a steep 
decline, more workers face the possibility of layoffs and 
current unemployment compensation recipients face greater 
difficulty in becoming reemployed. The total number of 
unemployed workers has already grown by 1.1 million over the 
last twelve months.
    This rise in joblessness is particularly troubling since 
the number of long-term unemployed workers is already very 
high. At the onset of the 2001 recession, 696,000 workers were 
unemployed for more than six months, representing about 11% of 
all unemployed workers. Similarly, at the start of the 1990 
recession, the long-term unemployed comprised 9.8% of all 
jobless workers. In March of 2008, there were nearly 1.3 
million workers who were unemployed for more than six months 
(representing nearly 17% of all unemployed workers). Not only 
is the number of long-term unemployed nearly twice as high 
compared to the beginning of the last recession, but it is also 
higher than indicated at the time Congress finally extended 
unemployment benefits in 2002.
    Furthermore, the percentage of workers exhausting regular 
unemployment compensation (36%) is higher today than at the 
beginning of any of the past five recessions. Given this high 
exhaustion rate, the Congressional Budget Office assumes that 
roughly 3.5 million Americans will run out of unemployment 
benefits before finding work this year.
    When economic conditions have deteriorated in the past five 
decades, Congress has routinely provided extended unemployment 
benefits to dislocated workers. Such federally-funded 
extensions have occurred in 1958, 1961, 1972, 1975, 1982, 1991, 
and 2002. Sometimes these extensions have been delayed until 
long after the beginning of an economic downturn--a mistake 
this legislation attempts to avoid.
    Unemployment benefits are extended during economic 
downturns in recognition of the fact that workers are losing 
their jobs and having difficulty becoming reemployed due to a 
depressed labor market. Providing assistance to such workers 
not only helps them and their families avoid severe 
deprivation, but it also reduces the severity and duration of 
an economic downturn by sustaining consumer demand. For 
example, it has been estimated by Moody's Economy.com that 
every dollar of extended unemployment benefits generates $1.64 
of economic growth. The Congressional Budget Office also 
recently concluded that extending unemployment benefits 
provides one of the most cost-effective and fastest-acting 
forms of economic stimulus because jobless workers have little 
choice but to spend the money quickly.
    While there are varying degrees of unemployment among the 
States, local areas of high unemployment exist throughout much 
of the nation. There are over 100 metropolitan areas located 
all over the country with unemployment rates of 6% or higher, 
according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Similarly, there 
are many counties with significant unemployment, even in States 
with relatively low unemployment rates.
    These facts strongly argue for quickly extending 
unemployment benefits for long-term unemployed workers on a 
nationwide basis.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    The Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act, H.R. 
5749, was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means on April 
9, 2008. On April 10, 2008, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on 
Income Security and Family Support held a hearing on extending 
unemployment compensation, which included a discussion of H.R. 
5749. The Committee on Ways and Means marked up H.R. 5749 on 
April 16, 2008, and ordered the bill, as amended, favorably 
reported by a roll call vote, with a quorum present.

                      II. EXPLANATION OF THE BILL


                    Sec. 2. Federal-State Agreements


                              PRESENT LAW

    The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program (also known as 
unemployment compensation) is funded by both Federal and State 
payroll taxes and pays benefits to covered workers who become 
involuntarily unemployed for economic reasons and meet State-
established eligibility rules. Federal administration of UI is 
under the purview of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 
Federal law sets broad rules that the 53 State programs must 
follow (Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of 
Columbia are included). The Federal tax pays for both Federal 
and State administrative costs, the Federal share of the 
extended benefit (EB) program (50%), loans to insolvent State 
UI accounts, and State employment services. The State tax pays 
for the regular UI benefit and the State share of the EB 
program (50%).

                      EXPLANATION OF THE PROVISION

    The bill would create a new temporary extension of 
Unemployment Insurance that would entitle certain unemployed 
individuals to unemployment benefits (Emergency Unemployment 
Compensation) that are not available under current law. 
Individuals who had exhausted their benefits with respect to a 
benefit year (excluding any benefit year that ended before May 
1, 2007) may be eligible for these additional benefits. The 
amount of the benefit would be the equivalent of the 
individual's weekly regular UI benefit (including dependents' 
allowances).
    The terms and conditions of the State law for receipt of 
regular UI benefits also would apply to these benefits.
    Governors of the States would be able to provide for the 
payment of the emergency UI benefit before the EB benefit. Such 
an election would not require a State to ``trigger off'' an EB 
period. Thus, once the regular UI benefit was exhausted a State 
could opt for the individual to receive the emergency UI 
benefit (100% Federal funding) before receiving the EB benefit 
(50% Federal funding and 50% State funding).

                           REASONS FOR CHANGE

    The current EB program rarely triggers on in States with 
high and/or rising unemployment given the program's 
requirements. Congress has therefore routinely established 
temporary Federal extended benefits programs in response to 
economic weakness and growing unemployment.

                             EFFECTIVE DATE

    The provision is effective upon enactment.

            Sec. 3. Emergency Unemployment Insurance Account


                              PRESENT LAW

    The EB program, established by P.L. 91-373 (26 U.S.C. 3304, 
note), may extend UI benefits at the State level if certain 
economic situations exist within the State. Although the EB 
program is not currently active in any State, it--like the UI 
program--is permanently authorized. The EB program is triggered 
when a State's insured unemployment rate (IUR) or total 
unemployment rate (TUR) reaches certain levels. All States must 
pay up to 13 weeks of EB if the IUR for the previous 13 weeks 
is at least 5% and is 120% of the average of the rates for the 
same 13-week period in each of the 2 previous years. There are 
two other optional thresholds that States may choose. (They may 
choose one, both, or none.) Under these options, the State 
would provide the following:
     Option 1: an additional 13 weeks of benefits if 
the State's IUR is at least 6%, regardless of previous years' 
averages.
     Option 2: an additional 13 weeks of benefits if 
the State's TUR is at least 6.5% and is at least 110% of the 
State's average TUR for the same 13 weeks in either of the 
previous two years; or, in a ``high unemployment period,'' an 
additional 20 weeks of benefits if the TUR is at least 8% and 
is at least 110% of the State's average TUR for the same 13 
weeks in either of the previous two years.
    Beyond the regular UI benefit eligibility requirements, 
eligibility for EB benefits requires that individuals must have 
20 weeks of full-time insured employment or its equivalent.

                      EXPLANATION OF THE PROVISION

    The provision would establish an account for individuals 
who were eligible for this emergency extended UI benefit. The 
number of weeks an individual would be eligible for these 
emergency extended UI benefits would be the lesser of 50% of 
the total regular UI eligibility or 13 weeks.
    Under a special rule, if the State is in an EB period 
(which has a special definition for purposes of this temporary 
extension) at the time the UI benefits exhausted, then the 
amount of emergency extended UI benefits is augmented by an 
additional amount that is equivalent to an additional 13 weeks 
(or 50% of the total regular UI eligibility, if less). Thus, in 
those ``high unemployment'' States where the EB program was 
triggered, temporary benefits of up to 26 weeks would be 
possible (13 additional weeks plus another 13 extra weeks for 
the special EB period).
    The bill would temporarily change the definition of an EB 
period for the purposes of this provision by expanding the 
definition of an EB period to include States with a TUR that 
was at least 6.0% and States with an IUR that was at least 4.0% 
(regardless of the IUR and TUR in the same 13-week period in 
the previous two years and regardless of whether or not State 
law includes the TUR trigger option in the EB program).

                           REASONS FOR CHANGE

    The Committee believes current economic and employment 
circumstances warrant establishing a temporary, federally-
funded extended unemployment benefits program. Like all such 
recent programs, the legislation provides a basic level of 
assistance in all States with additional help provided in 
States with higher unemployment. In an effort to avoid 
penalizing workers in States currently suffering with high 
unemployment, the Committee did not require that States have 
rising unemployment, in addition to high unemployment, in order 
to be deemed a high unemployment State and therefore eligible 
to offer a second 13 weeks of emergency extended UI benefits. 
Additionally, the Committee believes that all workers 
considered sufficiently attached to the workforce to be 
eligible for regular UI benefits should be eligible for 
emergency extended UI benefits, especially since up to six 
months of a worker's wage record might not be considered when 
eligibility for regular UI benefits is determined.

                             EFFECTIVE DATE

    The provision is effective upon enactment.

    Sec. 4. Payments to States Having Agreements for the Payment of 
                    Emergency Unemployment Insurance


                              PRESENT LAW

    The Federal unemployment tax on employers, among other 
uses, pays the Federal share (50%) of the extended benefit (EB) 
program and 100% of Federal and State administrative costs. 
State unemployment taxes on employers pay for 100% of the 
regular UI benefit and 50% of the EB benefit.

                      EXPLANATION OF THE PROVISION

    100% of the temporary extended UI benefit would be 
federally funded.

                           REASONS FOR CHANGE

    The legislation follows past temporary programs in 
providing 100% Federal funding for the extended unemployment 
benefits.

                             EFFECTIVE DATE

    The provision is effective upon enactment.

                      Sec. 5. Financing Provisions


                              PRESENT LAW

    UI benefits are financed through employer taxes. The 
Federal taxes on employers are under the authority of the 
Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), and the State taxes are 
under the authority given by the State Unemployment Tax Acts 
(SUTA). These taxes are deposited in the appropriate accounts 
within the U.S. Treasury's Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF).
    Among its 59 accounts, the Federal UTF in the U.S. Treasury 
includes: the Employment Security Administration Account 
(ESAA), the Extended Unemployment Compensation Account (EUCA), 
the Federal Unemployment Account (FUA), 53 State accounts, the 
Federal Employees Compensation Account, and two accounts 
related to the Railroad Retirement Board. Federal unemployment 
taxes are placed in the ESAA, the EUCA, and the FUA. Each 
State's unemployment taxes are placed in the appropriate 
State's account.

                      EXPLANATION OF THE PROVISION

    The provision would allow funds in the Federal EUCA within 
the UTF to be used for the payment of emergency UI benefits. In 
addition, it would appropriate such sums as necessary for 
administrative costs (i.e., without fiscal year limitation) 
from the Federal ESAA.
    The provision would appropriate funds for the emergency UI 
benefits paid to employees of non-profits and governmental 
entities from the general fund of the Treasury payable into the 
Federal EUCA. Those amounts would not be required to be repaid.

                           REASONS FOR CHANGE

    Dedicated payroll taxes fund the Federal unemployment trust 
funds, which now hold reserves of roughly $35 billion. The 
legislation uses these funds to help long-term unemployed 
workers.

                             EFFECTIVE DATE

    The provision is effective upon enactment.

                     Sec. 6. Fraud and Overpayments


                              PRESENT LAW

    All State laws provide for recovering UI benefits paid to 
workers who later are found not to be entitled to them. In 
addition to direct repayment, States use several tools to 
recoup these funds. States may, at the discretion of the State 
agency, recover overpayments by deducting from future benefits 
payable (benefit offset). They also may offset overpayments 
with State tax refunds due to the worker. They also can compel 
repayment by pursuing civil action in State court. Finally, 
some States may assess interest on outstanding overpayment 
balances. Some States provide that if the overpayment is not 
the fault of the individual, the individual is not liable to 
repay the amount overpaid.

                      EXPLANATION OF THE PROVISION

    If an individual lies or cooperates in a lie in order to 
receive an emergency UI benefit to which he or she was not 
entitled, the individual would be ineligible for further 
emergency UI benefits and would be subject to prosecution under 
section 1001 of title 18 of the United States Code (Chapter 
47--Fraud and False Statements).
    The provision would mandate States to require individuals 
who have received emergency UI benefits to which they were not 
entitled to repay the benefits. The State would be able to 
waive the repayment if it determines the payment was made 
without fault on the part of the individual and such repayment 
would be contrary to equity and good conscience.
    The provision would allow States to recover erroneous 
payments through deductions from any emergency UI benefits 
payable to such individual or from any State or Federal 
unemployment benefit with respect to any week of unemployment, 
during the 3-year period after the date such individual 
received the erroneous emergency UI benefit payment. No single 
deduction would be allowed to exceed 50% of the weekly benefit 
amount from which such deduction is made. In addition to 
regular UI and EB benefits, the Trade Readjustment Allowance 
and the Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefit (among 
other similar benefits) also would qualify to have such a 
deduction.
    No repayment shall be required until a determination has 
been made and an opportunity for a fair hearing has been given 
to the individual and the determination has become final.

                           REASONS FOR CHANGE

    The legislation ensures anti-fraud provisions apply to 
benefits provided under the bill.

                             EFFECTIVE DATE

    The provision is effective upon enactment.

                          Sec. 7. Definitions


                              PRESENT LAW

    Section 205 of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment 
Compensation Act of 1970 (26 U.S.C. 3304 note) provides 
definitions for the EB program. Included among the definitions 
are the following:
     The term ``compensation'' means cash benefits 
payable to individuals with respect to their unemployment.
     The term ``regular compensation'' means 
compensation payable to an individual under any State 
unemployment compensation law (including compensation payable 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. chapter 85--that is, Federal employee and 
ex-servicemember unemployment benefits), other than extended 
compensation and additional compensation.
     The term ``extended compensation'' means 
compensation (including additional compensation and 
compensation payable pursuant to 5 U.S.C. chapter 85) payable 
for weeks of unemployment beginning in an extended benefit 
period to an individual under those provisions of the State law 
which satisfy the requirements of this title with respect to 
the payment of extended compensation.
     The term ``additional compensation'' means 
compensation payable to exhaustees by reason of conditions of 
high unemployment or by reason of other special factors.
     The term ``benefit year'' means the benefit year 
as defined in the applicable State law.
     The term ``base period'' means the base period as 
determined under applicable State law for the benefit year.
     The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
Labor of the United States.
     The term ``State'' includes the District of 
Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Virgin 
Islands.
     The term ``State agency'' means the agency of the 
State which administers its State law.
     The term ``State law'' means the UI law of the 
State, approved by the Secretary of Labor under section 3304 of 
the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
     The term ``week'' means a week as defined in the 
applicable State law.

                      EXPLANATION OF THE PROVISION

    The proposal would keep all but one of these definitions. 
The proposal does not include the definition of the term 
``Secretary.''

                           REASONS FOR CHANGE

    This legislation uses the more specific term ``Secretary of 
Labor'' in place of the term ``Secretary.''

                             EFFECTIVE DATE

    The provision is effective upon enactment.

                         Sec. 8. Applicability


                              PRESENT LAW

    Not applicable.

                        EXPLANATION OF PROVISION

    The program would terminate in the week ending on or before 
February 1, 2009. Those unemployed individuals who had 
qualified for the emergency UI benefit or had qualified for the 
additional ``EB'' (high unemployment) provision would continue 
to receive payments for the number of weeks they were deemed 
eligible. However, if the unemployed individual has not 
exhausted the first emergency extension of UI benefits by 
February 1, 2009, regardless of State economic conditions, the 
individual would not be eligible for an additional ``EB'' (high 
unemployment) extension of the emergency UI benefit. If an 
individual exhausts his or her regular UI benefits after 
February 1, 2009, the individual would not be eligible for any 
emergency UI benefit. No such benefits shall be payable for any 
week beginning after April 30, 2009.

                           REASONS FOR CHANGE

    The Committee believes that the termination date of the 
program created by this legislation signals to workers that the 
Federal government will assist them as the economy slows, while 
allowing the next Congress to consider the appropriate response 
to the economic conditions existing at that time.

                             EFFECTIVE DATE

    The provision is effective upon enactment.
    
    
                     IV. BUDGET EFFECTS OF THE BILL


               A. COMMITTEE ESTIMATE OF BUDGETARY EFFECTS

    In compliance with clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the following Statement is 
made concerning the effects on the budget of this bill, H.R. 
5749: The bill is estimated to have the following effects of 
Federal budget receipts for fiscal years 2008-2018:


    B. STATEMENT REGARDING NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY OR TAX EXPENDITURES

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee states that the 
bill involves new budget authority and changes in revenues or 
tax expenditures. (See amounts in the Congressional Budget 
Office estimate provided below and in the table above.)

      C. COST ESTIMATE PREPARED BY THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, requiring a cost estimate 
prepared by the CBO, the following report prepared by the CBO 
is provided.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 17, 2008.
Hon. Charles B. Rangel,
Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 5749, the 
Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Christina 
Hawley Anthony.
            Sincerely,
                                         Robert A. Sunshine
                                   (For Peter R. Orszag, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 5749--Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008

    Summary: H.R. 5749 would make individuals who exhaust their 
regular benefits eligible for unemployment compensation for an 
additional period of time. The Congressional Budget Office 
estimates that enacting the bill would:
           Increase direct spending by $6.2 billion in 
        2008 and $11.7 billion over the 2008-2018 period; and
           Increase revenues by a net amount of $3.2 
        billion over the 2008-2018 period.
    In total, these changes would increase budget deficits (or 
reduce future surpluses) by $6.2 billion in 2008 and by a net 
of $8.5 billion over the 2008-2018 period.
    The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 5749 is shown in the following table. 
The spending effects of this legislation fall within budget 
function 600 (income security).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              By fiscal year, in billions of dollars--
                                           -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             2008    2009    2010    2011    2012    2013    2014    2015    2016    2017    2018   2008-2013  2008-2018
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Changes in Direct Spending (Outlays) \1\..     6.2     6.7       0       0       0       0       0    -0.2    -0.3    -0.3    -0.4      12.8       11.7
Changes in Revenues.......................       0       *     0.1     0.2     0.2     0.1     0.3     0.4     0.5     0.7     0.8       0.6        3.2
                                           -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Net Change in Deficits or Surpluses \2\...     6.2     6.6    -0.1    -0.2    -0.2    -0.1    -0.3    -0.6    -0.7    -1.0    -1.2      12.2        8.5
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ For direct spending changes, budget authority equals outlays.
\2\ Positive numbers indicate an increase in deficits or decrease in surpluses.
Note: * = gain of less than $50 million; components may not add to totals because of rounding.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
bill will be enacted by June 1, 2008, and that spending will 
follow historical patterns for similar activities.

Direct spending

    Most states' regular unemployment compensation programs 
provide up to 26 weeks of benefits to qualified individuals. 
The bill would authorize a program for emergency extended 
unemployment compensation (EEUC), which would provide federal 
funding for additional benefits--up to 13 weeks in all states--
to beneficiaries who exhaust their regular benefits. (Certain 
individuals who exhausted their regular benefits prior to the 
bill's enactment also would be eligible for EEUC). An 
additional 13 weeks of benefits would be provided in states 
that meet certain thresholds or triggers with respect to 
unemployment. States would be eligible to provide the 
additional 13 weeks of benefits if unemployment levels reach an 
insured unemployment rate of 4 percent or higher, or a total 
unemployment rate of 6 percent or higher. (CBO estimates that 
around one quarter of beneficiaries would be in states that 
would qualify to provide that additional 13 weeks.) Benefits 
would be available from the date of enactment through April 30, 
2009, but no new beneficiaries could be added to the program 
after February 1, 2009.
    Based on the number of people who previously exhausted 
regular benefits, as well as those anticipated to exhaust 
benefits in the coming months, CBO estimates that over the 
2008-2009 period:
           About 3.2 million people would collect EEUC 
        and that benefits paid over that time period would 
        total $11.7 billion;
           Administrative costs related to the EEUC 
        program would total $0.6 billion; and
           Outlays for regular unemployment benefits 
        would increase by $0.9 billion because the availability 
        of the EEUC benefits would affect some recipients' 
        employment decisions. (Most of those costs would be 
        offset by increases in state revenues over fiscal years 
        2009 through 2013, as discussed below under 
        ``Revenues.'')
    Those costs would be slightly offset by reduced payments 
from other federal programs that provide extended unemployment 
benefits--the extended benefits program and trade adjustment 
assistance for workers. CBO estimates those offsets would 
amount to $0.3 billion in 2008 and 2009.
    Under the financing provisions of the bill, funds in the 
Extended Unemployment Compensation Account would be transferred 
to the state accounts for the benefit and administrative 
expenses incurred for the EEUC program. Because the state 
unemployment funds are included in the federal budget, those 
transfers would have no immediate budgetary effect. However, 
they would interact with provisions of the federal unemployment 
law known as the ``Reed Act.'' Under those provisions, when 
funds in the federal accounts of the unemployment trust fund 
exceed certain statutory limits, excess revenues from the 
federal unemployment tax are transferred to the state accounts. 
In CBO's current baseline, we project that the federal 
government will transfer $8.6 billion to the states over the 
2013-2018 period. CBO's baseline includes outlays from the Reed 
Act transfers totaling $1.1 billion from 2014 to 2018. Under 
the bill, outlays for EEUC would reduce the federal trust fund 
balances to levels that would preclude such Reed Act transfers. 
Thus, relative to CBO's baseline projections, outlays under the 
bill would be $1.1 billion lower.
    CBO estimates that the net effect of unemployment-related 
provisions on direct spending would total $12.8 billion over 
the 2008-2013 period and $11.7 billion over the 2008-2018 
period.

Revenues

    The availability of EEUC benefits may discourage recipients 
from searching for work and accepting less-desirable jobs as 
quickly as they would in the absence of this act. Thus, some 
recipients may remain unemployed for slightly longer than they 
would have otherwise, and direct spending for regular benefits 
would increase during 2008 and 2009. CBO expects that some 
states would respond to the lower balances in their 
unemployment trust funds by increasing their unemployment 
taxes, resulting in an increase of $0.6 billion in revenues 
over the 2009-2013 period.
    The interaction between EEUC and Reed Act transfers also 
would affect revenues. Under the baseline, CBO estimates that, 
as a result of the estimated $8.6 billion in Reed Act 
transfers, states would reduce unemployment taxes by about $2.5 
billion over the 2014-2018 period, with additional revenue 
losses occurring after 2018. CBO estimates that transfers to 
the states under the EEUC program would reduce the federal 
trust fund balances to levels that would preclude such Reed Act 
transfers, resulting in revenues that would be $2.5 billion 
higher than our baseline projections of revenues over the five-
year period beginning in 2014.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 5749 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. CBO estimates that the changes to the 
unemployment compensation system would result in decreased 
federal transfers to states and also would lead to increased 
unemployment taxes in some states. These effects, however, 
would result from states' participation in the federal 
unemployment insurance program, which is voluntary, and would 
not result from intergovernmental mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Previous CBO estimate: On February 6, 2008, CBO transmitted 
an estimate of the budgetary effects of the Economic Stimulus 
Act of 2008, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on 
Finance on January 30, 2008. That bill contained provisions for 
the extension of unemployment compensation that are similar to 
provisions in H.R. 5749. Differences between the estimated 
costs reflect small economic and technical adjustments to CBO's 
baseline and differences in the legislation.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal spending: Christina Hawley 
Anthony; Federal revenues: Barbara Edwards; Impact on state, 
local, and tribal governments: Lisa Ramirez-Branum; Impact on 
the private sector: Ralph Smith.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

     V. OTHER MATTERS TO BE DISCUSSED UNDER THE RULES OF THE HOUSE


            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    With respect to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives (relating to oversight findings), 
the Committee concluded that it was appropriate and timely to 
enact the sections included in the bill, as reported.

         STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    With respect to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee establishes the 
following performance related goals and objectives for this 
legislation: The Secretary of Labor shall use the authority 
under the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 
2008, as amended, to provide extended unemployment compensation 
to workers exhausting regular unemployment benefits in the 
midst of a weak labor market. States shall enter into 
agreements with the Secretary to provide these federally-funded 
extended benefits to eligible workers.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    With respect to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, relating to Constitutional 
Authority, the Committee states that the Committee's action in 
reporting the bill is derived from Article 1 of the 
Constitution, Section 8 (`The Congress shall have power to . . 
. provide for the general Welfare of the United States.')

               INFORMATION RELATING TO UNFUNDED MANDATES

    This information is provided in accordance with section 423 
of the Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995 (Pub. L. No. 104-4).
    The Committee has determined that the revenue provisions of 
the bill do not impose a Federal mandate on the private sector.
    The Committee has determined that the revenue provisions of 
the bill do not impose a Federal intergovernmental mandate on 
State, local, or tribal governments.

                APPLICABILITY OF HOUSE RULE XXI 5(1)(B)

    Clause 5 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives provides, in part, that ``A bill or joint 
resolution, amendment, or conference report carrying a Federal 
income tax rate increase may not be considered as passed or 
agreed to unless so determined by a vote of not less than 
three-fifths of the Members voting, a quorum being present.'' 
The Committee has carefully reviewed the section of the bill, 
and states that the bill does not involve any Federal income 
tax rate increases within the meaning of the Rule.

                       PRE-EMPTING CLARIFICATION

    This information is provided in accordance with section 423 
of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The Committee has 
determined that the bill, as reported, does not pre-empt State 
or local law.

                          LIMITED TAX BENEFITS

    Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Ways and Means Committee has determined 
that the bill as reported contains no congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits within the 
meaning of that Rule.

       VI. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    Pursuant to compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Ways and Means 
Committee has determined that the bill does not propose to 
repeal or amend a statute or part thereof.

                         VII. DISSENTING VIEWS

    When the Committee met on April 16 regarding extending 
unemployment benefits, there were proposals on both sides of 
the aisle to consider. These options were crafted through hard 
work and good intentions and were designed to help people who 
are hurting after being laid off from their jobs. 
Unfortunately, the Committee's final product was so flawed that 
Members on both sides of the aisle were unable to support it. 
By immediately providing extended unemployment benefits in all 
States, even those with exceptionally low unemployment rates, 
the bill reported today would add to the Federal deficit, would 
unnecessarily raise State payroll taxes, and would allow those 
with minimal attachment to the workforce to collect up to six 
months of Federal unemployment benefits.
    Today's unemployment rate is a relatively low 5.1 percent. 
The U.S. has never created a temporary extended benefits 
program at such a low unemployment rate. In fact, when the last 
such temporary extended unemployment benefits program was 
created in March 2002, the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent--
the lowest unemployment rate when such a program was created in 
U.S. history. For perspective, during the Clinton 
Administration (1993-2000), the average unemployment rate for 
the Nation was 5.2 percent--higher than today's level.
    This is not to say that there are not States with 
struggling economies and unemployment rates well above average 
that might benefit from Federal assistance for long term 
unemployed workers. Any effort to extend unemployment benefits 
should be targeted to such States with high unemployment rates 
where jobs are hardest to find. That is what the Republican 
Substitute sought to do--building on longstanding Federal 
policy reflected in the Extended Benefits program created in 
1970. Unfortunately, in their zeal to pay benefits in all 
States regardless of State labor market conditions, the 
Majority rejected this targeted, commonsense approach.
    There are two main problems with the bill that was reported 
from the Committee. First, extended unemployment benefits would 
be paid in all States, regardless of the availability of jobs 
there. As was detailed during the markup, in February 2008 a 
full 19 States had unemployment rates of 4 percent or less. 
Even more States--27 in all--have unemployment rates within 1 
percentage point of their all-time low. In Washington State, 
for example, the February 2008 unemployment rate was 4.5 
percent--a slight tick above Washington's all-time low of 4.4 
percent, set just last year. It simply doesn't make sense to 
extend benefits in States where jobless rates are near all time 
lows. If extended benefits are merited today in States where 
State unemployment rates are exceptionally low, and the 
National rate is lower than it has been in recent decades, when 
and where do supporters of this approach think that extended 
unemployment benefits should not be available? This is a 
precedent Republicans cannot support. Instead, we think 
targeting extended unemployment benefits in those States with 
high unemployment rates is in order, especially if such a 
program is to begin at today's relatively low 5.1 percent 
unemployment rate.
    The second problem with the bill reported is the fact that 
it would not be paid for, despite promises to the contrary.
    When the Income Security Subcommittee had a hearing on this 
legislation on April 10, Rep. Stark suggested the legislation 
didn't need to be paid for since there was money in the Federal 
unemployment insurance trust funds that could be used for this 
purpose. There are reserves in those trust funds, and both 
Republican and Democrat Congresses have used those reserves to 
pay for temporary extended benefits programs before.
    But it is simply not true that choosing to spend those 
reserves will not add to the deficit. It will increase the 
deficit, by the amount of the additional spending in the 
Committee reported bill--about $12 billion for a program that 
would operate for just one year. The Congressional Budget 
Office (CBO) score of H.R. 5749 confirms as much: The CBO 
report says the bill would cost $12.2 billion over 5 years, and 
notes these ``numbers indicate an increase in deficits.'' But 
these figures likely understate the true costs of this 
legislation since, once started, such temporary programs are 
regularly extended. Indeed, the typical such ``temporary'' 
program started in recent decades went on to operate for a 
total of about 30 months. If the program proposed in H.R. 5749 
follows the same path, the total cost would balloon to $30 
billion or more.
    Democrats have made much of the new ``paygo rule'' 
supposedly guiding the budget policy of this Congress. For 
example, Speaker Pelosi on January 4, 2007 pledged that ``this 
110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: pay-as-
you-go, no new deficit spending. Our new America will provide 
unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them 
with mountains of debt.'' This rule has been used by the 
Majority to insist on raising taxes to ``pay for'' even the 
extension of expiring tax relief. One would certainly expect 
such a rule would require an offset for the new mandatory 
spending proposed in this bill. But despite the significant new 
Federal spending, and their supposed commitment to pay as you 
go budgeting, the Majority did not include an offset with this 
bill. Why? Because, despite their lofty rhetoric, it appears 
that this bill will exploit a loophole in the paygo rules the 
Majority crafted, which exempt new mandatory spending from 
paygo requirements if the legislation is included in an 
appropriations measure, as this bill apparently will be.
    In her January 29, 2008 floor statement on the bipartisan 
economic stimulus package Congress passed, Speaker Pelosi said: 
``I think it's a good day for us here and let's hope for the 
Senate to take their lead from us and be disciplined, focused, 
fiscally responsible, and act in a timely, temporary, and 
targeted way on behalf of meeting the needs of the American 
people.'' The reported bill is not fiscally responsible, and it 
is not targeted.
    It is noteworthy that, even after being alerted to the 
opposition of one of their own Members to passing an unpaid for 
bill, the Majority rejected Republican efforts to limit the 
increase in the deficit associated with this effort. The 
Republican Substitute offered by Rep. Weller of Illinois would 
have cost half as much as the Chairman's Amendment, yet was 
rejected by the Majority. Similarly, the amendment offered by 
Rep. McCrery, requiring a minimum work requirement for 
individuals to qualify for Federal extended benefits, would 
have better targeted benefits. But despite knowing of the 
opposition of Republicans and even of one of their Members to 
adding to the deficit, the Majority rejected such efforts.
    Rep. Weller's Substitute amendment to provide extended 
benefits in States that have high or fast rising unemployment 
rates is consistent with the Speaker's stated challenge for any 
stimulus legislation to be targeted where needs are greatest. 
His substitute would make available up to 13 weeks of 100 
percent Federally funded extended unemployment benefits in 
States that have an unemployment rate above the National 
average, or have experienced a 20 percent rise in unemployment 
rates in the past year, or are a ``high unemployment State'' as 
defined under the Majority bill (which includes having at least 
a 4 percent insured unemployment rate or at least a 6 percent 
total unemployment rate). Combined with regular unemployment 
benefits available in all States, under the Weller Substitute a 
total of 39 weeks of benefits would be available during the 
coming year to assist unemployed workers where jobs are hardest 
to find. On Main Street U.S.A., that helps people who need the 
help most.
    As Rep. Weller noted, his targeted substitute would be more 
generous than a proposal recently touted by the AFL-CIO, often 
considered the voice of workers. Under that proposal, extended 
benefits would be paid only when the Nation's unemployment rate 
exceeded 5.5 percent, which given today's 5.1 percent 
unemployment rate would mean ``not now.'' The Weller Substitute 
would start paying benefits in 18 States with high or fast 
rising unemployment rates right away. This commonsense 
substitute did not pass, and other attempts to improve the 
underlying bill also were rejected.
    Rep. McCrery offered an amendment to reinstate a 
requirement that individuals claiming Federal extended benefits 
must have worked for 20 weeks (or earned the equivalent in 
wages) prior to being laid off. This provision reflects a 
longstanding requirement of the permanent Federal-State 
Extended Benefit (EB) program created in 1970; it was also 
included in the 2002 Temporary Extended Unemployment 
Compensation program that passed the House by a 417-3 vote--and 
which was supported by every current Committee Democrat who was 
in the House then. The ``20 weeks of work'' requirement was 
created to ensure a proper balance between weeks of work 
performed and unemployment benefits paid, especially when 
special extended benefits are added; it should have been 
included in the Committee reported bill. Without such a minimum 
work requirement, workers who perform only seasonal work, for 
example, might qualify for six months of extended unemployment 
benefits--which benefits might be paid for far more weeks than 
they actually worked to earn those benefits.
    Rep. Weller also proposed to improve the Majority bill by 
adding a provision granting States new waiver authority to test 
wage insurance and other pro-work efforts as part of their 
unemployment benefits program. This amendment had no cost, 
would increase State flexibility, and was designed to spur 
efforts to help laid off workers find new jobs. Yet it too was 
rejected. It is telling that the Majority summarily rejected 
this provision, despite its being the only legislation 
considered at markup that would have attempted to assist 
unemployed workers in finding new jobs, as opposed to simply 
extending the length of time such workers might qualify for 
benefit checks. It is hard to escape the irony of that.
    It is important to consider the bigger picture, too. The 
House in 2007 passed legislation drafted by the Majority that 
would encourage States to offer up to 26 weeks of regular 
unemployment benefits to people seeking only part-time jobs, to 
those who quit their jobs for various reasons, and to those who 
just joined the workforce. Under the bill reported today, the 
Nation would not only pay 26 weeks of regular State 
unemployment benefits to such workers, but up to another 26 
weeks of Federal extended benefits, too--potentially doubling 
the extent of unemployment benefits for any single worker to a 
full year (or even longer in some States with their own 
extended benefit and other special programs). Throughout the 
hearing and markup process, several Democrats argued such 
benefits were merited even in low-unemployment States, given 
the presence there of communities with relatively higher 
unemployment rates. But if needed now in even low-unemployment 
States and while the Nation's unemployment rate is a relatively 
low 5.1 percent, when in the future does the Majority think 
Federal extended benefits will not be merited in all States?
    It's hard not to perceive a pattern here of the Majority 
attempting to increasingly make unemployment benefits more like 
welfare benefits than traditional unemployment insurance--with 
more and longer benefits paid to people with less and less 
attachment to the workforce. That's not only contrary to the 
longstanding purpose of the Nation's unemployment benefits 
program, but such expanding benefits will require expanding 
taxes, too--resulting in slower job creation and requiring ever 
higher payroll taxes, which will further squeeze workers' 
wages. How will that help either current workers, or unemployed 
workers in search of new jobs?
    Ways and Means Republicans want to help unemployed workers, 
especially those in States suffering weak job prospects as 
evidenced by high unemployment rates. That is why Republicans 
supported a targeted approach to extending unemployment 
benefits. This would have provided real help where it is needed 
most. At the same time, Republicans want to ensure that current 
actions in the name of compassion for workers do not contribute 
to greater burdens for our children and grandchildren in the 
form of ever mounting debt. The Speaker's past rhetoric has 
described how stimulus legislation should be targeted and 
fiscally responsible. Yet despite such pledges, the Majority 
legislation is both untargeted and fiscally irresponsible. That 
is why Republicans could not support the Committee bill.
    We hope that, as the legislation reported out of the 
Committee moves forward, additional action will be taken to 
make it both targeted and fiscally responsible--assisting those 
in need without adding to the burdens already facing current 
and future generations of workers.
                                   Jim McCrery.
                                   Wally Herger.
                                   Jerry Weller.
                                   Kenny Hulshof.
                                   Ron Lewis.
                                   Kevin Brady.
                                   Eric Cantor.
                                   Sam Johnson.
                                   Paul Ryan.
                                   Devin Nunes.
                                   John Linder.
                                   Jim Ramstad.
                                   Pat Tiberi.