Officials Believe The Senate Unemployment Bill Would Be Almost Impossible To Implement

Job employment fair unemploymentREUTERS/Shannon StapletonPeople wait in line to enter a job fair in New York April 18, 2012.

State unemployment insurance officials warned Senate leaders on Wednesday a pending bill to extend unemployment insurance would be extremely difficult to implement, a development that threatens to stall momentum for the bill in the Senate and kill its chances of being considered in the House.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) — a group that represents state unemployment insurance directors — said the bill would “substantially increase the administrative burden on states.”

The letter argued some of the bill’s provisions would “cause considerable delays in the implementation of the program and increased administrative issues and costs.”.

“Some states have indicated they might decide such changes are not feasible in the short time available, and therefore would consider not signing the U.S. Department of Labour’s agreement to operate the program,” said the letter.

NASWA pointed to four specific issues with the legislation, which could be voted on as soon as next week. The bill would retroactively extend unemployment benefits to about 1.3 million Americans. However, NASWA warned by the time some states will be ready to implement the legislation, the bill’s extension will already have expired because of technical problems with states’ “antiquated” computer systems and other administrative issues. Furthermore, the organisation also argued a provision ending the extension of benefits to anyone who made more than $US1 million the previous year would be “very hard to administer,” since the current unemployment insurance system does not collect information on individuals’ gross incomes.

Senate negotiators have wrangled for months over a compromise on extending the unemployment benefits. But even if the bill passes through the Senate, the new letter makes it even more unlikely the Republican-controlled House would take up the bill.

“The Senate bill is basically unworkable,” a House GOP leadership aide told Business Insider.

Here’s the full letter from NASWA President Mark Henry:

Senate Letter on EUC Extension, S. 2148, Final

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