Bipartisan bill would extend unemployment insurance

Reps. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) have introduced a bill that would extend unemployment insurance for five months.

The extension, which would not offer retroactive payments for people who stopped receiving jobless benefit payments at the end of last year, would be offset using "pension smoothing" provisions from the 2012 highway bill and extending customs fees through 2024.

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In addition, individuals receiving unemployment benefits would be eligible for referrals to re-employment services programs to help them find jobs. 

Across the Capitol, Sens. Jack ReedJack ReedSenators push to authorize 4,000 more visas for Afghans Groups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges Reid throws wrench into Clinton vice presidential picks MORE (D-R.I.) and Dean HellerDean HellerLake Mead hits record low water level Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump Press: Forget about GOP unity in 2016 MORE (R-Nev.) have introduced companion legislation. The Senate passed a five-month extension in April, but House GOP leadership has said Congress should instead pass legislation to create jobs.

Kildee said extending unemployment insurance would help people to afford the bare necessities while looking for new jobs.

"Since this vital lifeline lapsed, millions of families have struggled to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head and pay their bills," Kildee said.

LoBiondo said he had heard from many constituents urging Congress to pass an extension.

"Their stories have motivated my countless conversations with House leadership and concerned colleagues hoping to bridge this divide," LoBiondo said. "I see no reason why a bipartisan solution cannot be found that provides a critical lifeline to those in need without adding to the deficit."

In a statement supporting the measure, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted the House GOP leadership for not bringing an renewal of unemployment insurance up for a vote.

"It is unconscionable that Republicans have refused to renew this essential support for hard working Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own," Pelosi said.

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