Senator Burr Introduces Extended Unemployment Benefits Reform Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced the Extended Unemployment Benefits Reform Act of 2012. After six months of unemployment, this bill would require individuals to complete 20 hours of public service and 20 hours of active job search per week as conditions for receipt of federal extended unemployment benefits.

"The United States economy is suffering, and we have seen record levels of sustained high unemployment. Job creators are hesitant to hire new employees due to a lack of certainty and predictability in taxes and regulations, and this can be demoralizing for millions of people in need of work," Senator Burr said.

"Engagement in volunteer service will encourage unemployed workers to maintain job skills, marketability, and a sense of self-worth while providing for the betterment of their communities. Even more, the active job search requirement will enhance the integrity of the unemployment system and its ability to identify and serve those most in need."

With nearly 13 million unemployed and potentially limited opportunities for voluntary service, states would have the discretionary power to waive the requirement for individuals who had made a concerted effort to volunteer.

In addition, unemployed individuals may be exempt from the public service requirement due to illness, family emergency, or if they are unable to perform public service due to child care responsibilities or lack of transportation.

Public service may be fulfilled by working for a 501( c ) (3) organization or a federal, state or local agency, and the bill protects government workers from displacement by only permitting volunteering with a governmental agency when permitted by current law.

The bill allows the "work activities" recognized by the federal government in welfare reform to reduce required public service. These activities include subsidized private sector employment; subsidized public sector employment; work experience (including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing); on-the-job training; job readiness assistance; vocational educational training, education directly related to employment, receiving a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency; and providing child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program.

Senator Burr is proud to announce that 17 of his colleagues have joined him as co-sponsors of this legislation:

-Senator Mitch McConnell
-Senator Kelly Ayotte
-Senator John Barrasso
-Senator John Boozman
-Senator Saxby Chambliss
-Senator Tom Coburn, M.D.
-Senator Thad Cochran
-Senator John Cornyn
-Senator Jim DeMint
-Senator Michael Enzi
-Senator Lindsey Graham
-Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
-Senator Ron Johnson
-Senator Rand Paul
-Senator James Risch
-Senator John Thune
-Senator Roger Wicker