Funding for War, GI Bill, Unemployment Insurance Extension


An extension of unemployment benefits was included in a spending bill that the Senate passed (92-6) on Thursday, June 26 to continue funding the occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan well into 2009, without a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops.

The bill was negotiated over the past two months by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.  The $162 billion emergency war funding brings the total cost for the conflicts to about $650 billion-more than $400 billion for Iraq alone.

The legislation includes an $8 billion extension of unemployment insurance, $63 billion in funding for a new GI Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, $5.8 billion to rebuild levees in Louisiana, $4.6 billion to refurbish veterans’ hospitals, and billions to fund other projects. The combined total to fund the wars and the domestic initiatives is $258 billion.

The extension of unemployment insurance coverage was included in the House bill (H.R. 2642) by a margin of 416-12 on June 19, 2008. The move to attach the unemployment benefits provisions into the war supplemental appropriation follows the passage of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008 (H.R. 5749) by a margin of 274-137 on June 12.

The unemployment insurance provisions of H.R. 2642 closely resemble those of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act, and provide jobless workers who have exhausted their benefits with 13 additional weeks of benefits, with additional 13-week extensions to workers in states with the highest rates of unemployment. In order to achieve bipartisan passage, House Democrats agreed to drop a controversial provision of the stand-alone bill that would have eliminated the current 20-week work requirement to receive federal benefits.  Absent that provision, the Bush Administration has indicated support for the extension of unemployment benefits.

President George W. Bush, who initially said he would veto a supplemental bill that surpassed the $108 billion he said was needed for Iraq and Afghanistan, is expected to sign the legislation into law next week.


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4 Responses to “Funding for War, GI Bill, Unemployment Insurance Extension”

  1. lfp Says:

    Now that the “Emergency” War Funding/Unemployment bill has passed
    both House and Senate – when will President sign it and when will it go
    into affect? That unemployment extension is truely an EMERGENCY
    for many people who just aren’t getting hired.

  2. KSimpson Says:

    It is my understanding that juts as soon as the bill is signed by the President it is Law and becomes effective immediately. If I understand what I have just read above, it looks like the unemployment ext. bill passed the Senate?! Excellent news. If I could I’d hold the pen for Bush to sign it. This bill has been a long time in the work to become a reality and will certainly give me some renewed hope to find work hopefully soon!

  3. Morocco MisterBoy Says:

    At sixty, Its my fault for “still” working for another via the hour. I’m very thankful to Nancy and Associates for the additional ‘Help’.

  4. Bur Says:

    The President signed this supplemental appropriations bill (HR 2642) today, June 30.

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