Created: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 10:46:00 MST
Updated: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 10:59:39 MST
U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the Solutions to Long-Term Unemployment Act on Feb. 25, which would address long-term unemployment by reducing the cost of hiring and providing relocation resources for long-term unemployed individuals, as well as strengthening and streamlining federal worker training programs. Thune’s bill mirrors the amendment he offered as an alternative to the Democrat’s unemployment insurance extension bill, which would extend emergency unemployment compensation for the 13th time since 2008.
Thune says, “I hope my colleagues will support my legislation to start tackling the causes of our long-term economic problems, instead of simply treating the symptoms.”
Thune’s bill has four parts. The first would exempt long-term unemployed individuals from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for certain businesses to provide health insurance or pay a fine for each uninsured employee.
The bill would also enact a six-month employer-side payroll tax holiday for each long-term unemployed individual hired. This is an incentive to hire a long-term unemployed individual, which will help break the cycle of unemployment for those millions of Americans who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer.
Long-term unemployed individuals would gain access to a one-time, low-interest loan up to $10,000 to relocate more than 50 miles away to start a new job.
The last step would be to streamline and improve job training by including the House-passed SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which would consolidate 35 federal employment and training programs and create a Workforce Investment Fund to serve as a single source of support for employers, workers, and job seekers at the state level.
The payroll tax holiday and the relocation assistance in Thune’s bill would expire two years after enactment or one month after the total number of long-term unemployed drops below two million. The provisions would be offset by lowering the 2015 non-defense discretionary spending caps by $10 billion to $483 billion, which would be a reinstatement of the non-defense caps for 2015 under the Budget Control Act.