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Senator Urges Adoption of Senate Language That Extends Unemployment Insurance Benefit 14 Weeks to All Americans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today praised Senate passage of a strong Unemployment Insurance (UI) bill that would extend unemployment benefits another 14 weeks to all states, including Maryland. The House has passed a bill that would extend UI benefits only to states with unemployment rates of 8.5 percent or higher.

Senator Cardin urged the adoption of the much stronger Senate version of the bill that “guarantees an additional 14 weeks of UI benefits to Americans who – through no fault of their own – have found it extremely difficult to get a job in this recession.”

The Senator stressed that while the Maryland September unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, below the national average of 9.8 percent or the 8.5 percent cutoff contained in the House bill, six Maryland jurisdictions have high unemployment rates at or above 8.5 percent. Those six Maryland counties are: Baltimore City (10.6 percent); Caroline County (8.8 percent); Cecil County (8.6 percent); Dorchester County (10.9 percent); Somerset County (9.5 percent) and Washington County (9.4 percent).

“We are in the most serious recession since the Great Depression and unemployment knows no state boundary. Individuals who have lost their job and cannot find employment should be entitled to this extension solely because of their job status, not because of where they live,” said Senator Cardin, a co-sponsor of the amendment to HR 3548, the Workers, Home Owners and Business Assistance Act.

“We need to pass the strongest possible UI bill to help all jobless Americans who are facing financial catastrophe because of this recession.”

The latest Department of Labor figures show that almost 215,000 Marylanders looked for a job last month, but were unable to find employment. It is projected that more than 25,000 Marylanders will exhaust their unemployment benefits by the end of December if an extension is not passed.

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Susan Sullam

Office of U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin

Communications Director

Boehner Misrepresents FactCheck.orgs Findings


Boehner Misrepresents FactCheck.orgs Findings
November 2, 2009

Last week House Republican Leader John Boehners office issued a “Leader Alert” titled “10 Facts Every American Should Know About Speaker Pelosis 1,990-Page Govt Takeover of Health Care.”

Its a partisan document containing misleading characterizations of the bill. But the bullet point that bothers us most is #2, which reads:

MASSIVE CUTS TO MEDICARE BENEFITS FOR SENIORS. Despite grave warnings from CBO,, and the independent Lewin Group that cuts to Medicare of the magnitude included in Speaker Pelosis bill would have a negative impact on seniors benefits and choices, Speaker Pelosis health care bill stays the course and cuts Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars.

We never have said that seniors would suffer “massive cuts to Medicare benefits” under the pending House or Senate overhaul bills, and in fact have done our best to debunk claims to that effect. The only seniors who might see cuts are those enrolled in Medicare Advantage, about 22 percent of the Medicare population. Currently, many of those seniors receive a bit more in benefits than regular Medicare fee-for-service patients perhaps a gym membership, a pair of eyeglasses, a reduced premium. But, as weve written, Medicare pays the private companies that administer Medicare Advantage about 14 percent more per beneficiary than it does for the rest of Medicare beneficiaries, who wind up subsidizing the program, according to government analysts.

If current law didnt change, the value of the additional benefits given under Medicare Advantage would amount to about $85 per senior per month in 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office. If the Senate bill passed (and the House bill is similar on this point), that would be reduced to about $42 per month. But under no circumstances would any senior receive less in benefits than the other 78 percent of the Medicare population.

Were sure seniors who see benefit cuts of any kind wont be happy about it. But to characterize these as “massive cuts,” and our article (as well as CBOs analysis) as a “grave warning” is simply rubbish.

We asked Boehners office to take our name out of the document, but spokesman Michael Steel said: “Im not inclined to do so,” and invited us to send an e-mail further making our case. We are doing so.