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States generally offer 26 weeks in unemployment benefits, averaging around $300 a week.
Congress, in the stimulus act and other legislation, has extended the time for receiving benefits and increased payments.
highway and unemployment funds.
WASHINGTON Congress has moved quickly to replenish depleted federal programs, including one Omega Seamaster Trilogy For Sale
Congress OKs funds for jobless pay
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D Calif., said in opposition that the Republicans were "slashing funds from the stimulus program that has one purpose, and that purpose is to create jobs."
supporting jobless benefits, that are in danger of running short of money while lawmakers are out of town in August.
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The Senate passed the measure 79 17 on Thursday, a day after it won overwhelming approval in the House. It now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The housing administration became the main source of home loans to borrowers with poor credit and low down payments after the collapse of the subprime lending market.
The House and Senate have voted in succession to approve the package that adds $7 billion to the highway trust fund, ensures the continued flow of federal aid to states unable to cover unemployment benefit costs and bolsters a federal program offering low interest housing loans.
Senate supporters of the bill first had to defeat Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Wrist several Republican amendments that would have used unspent money from the $787 billion economic stimulus act to strengthen the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Nato Strap
GOP senators argued that some of the stimulus money won't be spent for a year or two and that the bill, which transfers money from the general treasury to the trust funds, adds to the federal deficit. There's no set amount for the infusion into the unemployment insurance fund, but it was estimated that it would need about $7.5 billion to help state unemployment programs that are insolvent.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told a House committee recently that the administration was still searching for solutions. "We're not for just taking money from the general fund and just lopping it over into the highway fund. Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Omega Watches James Bond Spectre
The bill also raises the ceiling for the Federal Housing Administration's mortgage insurance program for this fiscal year from $315 billion to $400 billion.
The fund's balances have steadily declined in recent years because people have been driving less during the recession and buying more fuel efficient cars and because Congress has refused to raise the federal fuel tax 18.4 cents a gallon or 24.3 cents for diesel since 1993 despite inflation and soaring construction costs.
The unemployment fund is crucial to the 18 states that have depleted their unemployment compensation budgets and already have loan balances exceeding $12 billion. More states are expected to turn to the federal trust fund for loans as the recession lingers and the jobless rate approaches 10 percent.
Sen. John Dingell of Michigan, whose state unemployment fund has been insolvent for two years, said that without congressional action, "4.6 million people nationwide will not receive unemployment benefits in August and September."
The highway trust fund, made up of revenue from fuel taxes drivers pay at the pump, is the source for the about $40 billion the federal government spends every year on roads, bridges and transit projects.
The fund is expected to drop into the red in late August. The immediate result would be that federal payments to states for highway and transit projects, now made on a daily basis, would be strung out and made once a week or twice monthly. The $7 billion would keep the fund solvent through Sept. 30, the end of this fiscal year.
The stopgap measure comes against a backdrop of a dispute over longer term solutions. The House Transportation Committee is pressing for quick action on a $500 billion bill to finance infrastructure projects over the next six years and restructure how the money is spent. The Senate, backed by the White House, prefers an 18 month extension of the current surface transportation bill, which expires at the end of September, to allow more time to determine how best to finance the nation's infrastructure needs.
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