Democrats propose cutting jobless benefits to 93 from 99 weeks; GOP presses for 59 weeks

  • Thu Feb 9th, 2012 8:22am
  • News

By Andrew Taylor Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are urging a modest six-week cut in the number of weeks that unemployed workers can receive jobless benefits as House-Senate talks on a payroll tax cut slowly inch along.

Rather than a maximum benefit of 99 weeks, Democrats propose allowing unemployed people to receive 93 weeks, though the top benefit would effectively shrink to 79 weeks in most states over the course of the year since jobless rates are dropping. Republicans would effectively reduce the maximum benefit to 59 weeks.

But Democrats are rejecting GOP proposals to require beneficiaries to enroll in GED classes or permit states to require drug tests as a condition of getting unemployment.

There’s still no progress on the central issue of finding budget cuts to finance a cut in Social Security payroll taxes.