Merkley Helps Reach Bipartisan Agreement to Restore Emergency Unemployment Insurance

Washington, DC –Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley joined four fellow Democrats and five Republicans in announcing an agreement to reauthorize expired emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for 5 months.  The bill is cosponsored by Merkley and Senators  Dean Heller (R-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Kirk (R-IL),  Jack Reed (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).  The plan will allow for retroactive payments to eligible beneficiaries going back to December 28th. 

“Since December 28, Congress has left Oregonians looking for work out in the cold. Democrats and Republicans have come together to right this wrong. These benefits will help keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of struggling Oregonians and their families while they find work. I want to thank my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, for not giving up, and coming together for a compromise that will give much-needed assistance to our most vulnerable.” 

This new legislation seeks to strengthen the U.S. economy while providing vulnerable job seekers and their families with a vital lifeline as they continue to look for work.  The proposal is fully paid-for using a combination of offsets that includes extending “pension smoothing” provisions from the 2012 highway bill (MAP-21), which were set to phase out this year, and extending customs user fees through 2024.  The bill also includes an additional offset allowing single-employer pension plans to prepay their flat rate premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).