By Vicki Needham - 06/29/10 02:24 PM EDT
Two House lawmakers are pushing forward this week to pass a standalone extension of unemployment insurance as more than 1.2 million stand to lose their benefits within a couple of days.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, have teamed up to introduce a measure they aim to pass before the July 4 recess.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the bill could hit the floor Tuesday or Wednesday. He didn't provide any bill details although they are expected soon.
A tax extenders bill that included a six-month extension of unemployment benefits has stalled out in the Senate because of Republican concerns over adding to the debt and issues over tax provisions in the bill.
At least two senators — Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) — have introduced standalone versions of the measure as benefits gradually begin running out for millions of Americans. It's unknown whether the Senate would consider the measures or take up the House bill, which could allow enough time to complete the work before the weekend.
Under the extension, unemployed workers can receive up to 99 weeks of benefits based on the state's unemployment rate. Every state is affected if Congress can't resolve the issue before recess begins. If a measure isn't passed, lawmakers wouldn't take it up again until at least July 12, when they return from the weeklong break.
This story was updated at 11:45 a.m.