On July 22, President Obama signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits through November. But absent from that bill was an extension of the COBRA premium subsidy. Why?
Both Republicans and Democrats acknowledged that they wanted to see the 65% COBRA subsidy — which expired more than two months ago — extended. But the lawmakers from both parties failed to agree on how to pay for it.
The GOP suggested using funds allocated to economic recovery. The grounds? Obama’s stimulus packages have either failed or the money’s not being spent, Republicans said.
The Dems, on the other hand, wanted to borrow more money to pay the billions needed to extend the subsidy. But the GOP feared more borrowing would send the ballooning federal deficit spiraling further out of control.
As congressional lawmakers prepare for the November elections, many hope to keep the focus on legislation that’ll create jobs and assist the unemployed — and that could spark further action on the subsidy.
But as more time goes buy, it could prove increasingly difficult to resurrect the expired program.
We’ll keep you posted.
Should the COBRA subsidy be extended along with other unemployment benefits? Share your thoughts in the Comments Box below.