|2:01 PM EDT||
Jim McCrery, R-LA 4th
Mr. McCRERY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this legislation before us. Besides increasing taxes, this bill would create an untargeted emergency extended unemployment benefits program that would add to the deficit and ultimately increase State payroll taxes.
Moreover, this provision is untargeted, meaning it would pay extended unemployment benefits in all States, regardless of the availability of jobs in those States. Today's national unemployment rate is 5.0 percent. In March, 32 States had unemployment rates below 5 percent. Congress has never created a temporary extended benefits program at such a low unemployment rate. The lowest prior unemployment rate when such a program was created was 5.7 percent. Especially given today's low unemployment
rate nationwide, it just doesn't make sense to extend benefits in States where jobs are readily available.
While I do not support the legislation before us on this subject, Republicans know that laid off workers are hurting, especially in States with struggling economies where jobs are hard to find and unemployment rates are high. That is why, during committee consideration of this legislation, I supported targeting extended unemployment benefits so real help would be provided where it is needed most. Unfortunately, that effort was rebuffed in favor of the general untargeted proposal before us today.
This legislation also shows the sham that is PAYGO. The broad extended unemployment program is projected to cost $16 billion over the next 5 years and increase State payroll taxes by $1 billion over that time. And this is likely just the start. The typical temporary program in recent decades lasted about 30 months. If the program started under the legislation before us today follows that path, the ultimate cost will exceed $30 billion.