Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Obama budget has roots in Thune proposal


On Monday, as part of his new budget, President Obama laid out a series of proposals aimed at adapting the unemployment system to this new reality. He wants to offer states incentives to provide at least six months of benefits; expand eligibility to workers who don’t qualify for the program; and create a permanent, tiered system of emergency benefits that would take effect during periods of high unemployment. Elements of Obama’s proposal have their roots in a bill proposed last year by Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota. But despite such nods to bipartisanship, most of Obama’s recommendations have little chance of becoming law. He would pay for expanded benefits through higher taxes on employers, something that stands virtually no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress. [John Casellman, Unemployment Has Changed. Unemployment Benefits Haven’t.]
Coming to Congress as one of the least wealthy senators Thune sure has raised a pant-load of cash. It will be interesting to watch whether he can clear the cloud of ethical questions surrounding him as rumors of a vice-presidential nod swirl around his GOP halo.


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