Perriello-backed unemployment extension wins approval in Congress

Today, Rep. Tom Perriello praised the huge victory in Congress to extend unemployment benefits in all 50 states. He had been fighting for the changes since the U.S. House passed a bill in September that did not help Virginians.

“This is a major victory to get help to those who need it the most. I’m very pleased my legislation was adopted so that Virginia workers will get this lifeline to help them stay afloat while they seek new employment,” said Perriello.

The legislation passed today – which mirrors legislation introduced by Rep. Perriello – extends an additional 14 weeks of unemployment benefits to jobless workers in all 50 states, with an extra six weeks for those in high unemployment states (over 8.5 percent) who are about to run out of benefits. Though Virginia has an average of 6.6 percent unemployment, most communities in Southside Virginia have unemployment rates over 9 percent.

How Rep. Perriello Succeeded in Fight for Unemployment Benefits Extension:
· Sept 21: Rep. Perriello writes to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer asking that unemployment benefits be extended based on regional considerations, as opposed to by state.
· Sept 22: The U.S. House passes H.R. 3548, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, which only applied to states with unemployment rates of 8.5 percent or higher. Perriello broke with his party and voted against the bill.
· Sept 29: Rep. Perriello writes to the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman urging an immediate six-week unemployment benefit extension for all states.
· Oct 1: Rep. Perriello joins Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa) to introduce legislation to extend unemployment benefits in all 50 states.
· Nov 4: The U.S. Senate approves compromise with provisions similar to the Welch/Perriello/Loebsack bill.
· Nov 5: The U.S. House approves the Senate’s compromise.


Bill Also Extends First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit

The bill passed by the U.S. House today also extends the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit to first-time homebuyers with a binding contract before April 30, 2010, allowing 60 days to close. Currently, the measure is set to expire on November 30, 2009, but Rep. Perriello joined a bipartisan call on Oct. 21 to urge for its extension.

As soon as the President signs this bill into law, it will expand the homebuyer tax credit to more families, phasing out for individuals with income above $125,000 and for joint filers with income about $225,000 (the current law credit phases out for individuals with income starting at $75,000 and for joint filers with income starting at $150,000). It also creates a $6,500 credit available to homebuyers who have been in their current residence for five or more consecutive years out of the last eight years.



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