CBO: Unemployment bill adds $6.4B to deficit

The Senate jobless aid bill set for a vote next Monday would add $6.4 billion to the deficit over 10 years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act would boost the deficit in 2014 by $6.6 billion but would have the effect of raising revenue slightly in later years.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), extends federal unemployment compensation through March 31. The expanded jobless benefits expired on Dec. 28, cutting an estimated 1.3 million people off from the program. Without congressional action, those unemployed through no fault of their own would only be able to access state benefits, which run out more quickly than the expanded federal benefits.

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Senate Democratic leaders said this month that they do not believe the extension should be paid for, and they have likened it to disaster aid. But House Republicans are only open to an extension if it has spending cut offsets, and House Democrats have suggested using savings from the farm bill to pay for an extension.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said this week the Senate is still on track to hold a cloture vote on the Reed bill on Monday.