Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008

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The Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008 (H.R.5749) would extend emergency unemployment compensation for 13 weeks beyond the 26 weeks already authorized under law. Also, states with the highest unemployment rates - of 6% or higher, such as Alaska and Rhode Island - would be eligible for an additional 13 weeks.

Bill details

<USbillinfo congress="110" bill="H.R.5749" />

Bill summary

The bill, introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and Rep. Phil English (R-Penn.), provides for a program of emergency unemployment compensation. The amount established would be either "50% of the total amount of regular compensation (including dependents' allowances) payable to the individual or 13 times the individual's average weekly benefit amount for the benefit year" [1] These compensation would apply to anyone whose benefits are exhausted before January 2009, which is an estimated 3.5 million.

As of June 2008, the bill had 35 sponsors. [2]

Criticism and condemnation

In addition to President Bush's threat to veto the bill, Republicans argued that it eliminates the requirement mandating that people have to work 20 weeks before they would be eligible for the emergency assistance. Additionally, concerns have been expressed over states with low unemployment rates also receiving the extension. [1]

Voting record

Democrats initially attempted to pass the bill on the "fast track" suspension calendar, however the 279-144 result fell three votes short of the required two-thirds majority to override a veto. 49 Republicans, including those facing challenging November re-election races, voted for the bill.

<USvoteinfo year="2008" chamber="house" rollcall="403" />

However, by avoiding shortcuts and taking a more traditional approach, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) achieved the necessary votes to send the bill to the Senate. Forty-nine Republicans pledged support for the bill, leading to the final vote to be 274-137. [2]

<USvoteinfo year="2008" chamber="house" rollcall="412" />


  • Americans for Democratic Action
  • Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
  • Catholic Charities USA
  • Coalition on Human Needs
  • Economic Policy Institute
  • Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Employment Law Project
  • National Women's Law Center
  • Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration
  • Sargen Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
  • Unemployed Workers
  • United Church of Christ
  • Washington State Employment Security Department


  • Montana Chamber of Commerce

Articles and resources


  1. House Likely to Pass Jobless Bill on Second Try CQ Politics June 11, 2008
  2. House approves jobless benefits "Politico" June 12, 2008.

Related SourceWatch resources

U.S. minimum wage legislation

External articles

External resources