Tester introduces bill to end unemployment insurance for millionaires

Senator: Taxpayers shouldn’t be writing checks to ‘folks with seven-figure trust funds, real-estate investments’

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today introduced legislation to save taxpayer dollars by ending federal unemployment benefits for millionaires.

Tester’s bipartisan Ending Unemployment Payments to Millionaires Act would stop federal unemployment payments to Americans who earn at least $1 million per year.  The legislation is estimated to save taxpayers nearly $100 million.

“Especially during tough economic times, hardworking taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to write unemployment checks for folks fortunate enough to have seven-figure trust funds or real-estate investments,” said Tester, who teamed up with Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to introduce the legislation.  “Montanans know the value of a dollar, and they call this common sense.  And it’s one more step forward in my fight to keep saving taxpayer dollars and working across party lines to cut the national debt.”

Tester cut spending last year by amending the federal unemployment insurance law, saving taxpayers $6 billion by trimming back a temporary emergency boost in unemployment benefits.

“We support Jon’s common sense effort to save taxpayers money while protecting unemployment insurance for the people who need it most,” said Jim McGarvey, Executive Secretary of the Montana State AFL-CIO.  “Unemployment insurance is supposed to be for folks who lose their jobs and need a temporary safety net before they find a new job.”

In 2008, nearly 3,000 households that reported income of $1 million or more on their tax returns were paid a total of $18.6 million in unemployment benefits, according to the IRS.  More than 800 households earning over $2 million and 17 households with incomes exceeding $10 million received federal benefits.

A copy of Tester’s bipartisan Ending Unemployment Payments to Millionaires Act is available on his website, HERE.

  • Personally saved taxpayers $6 billion by trimming back a temporary emergency boost to unemployment benefits
  • Only Senate Democrat to vote against both bailouts and backed legislation to use unused bailout money to pay down the national debt
  • Canceled Congressional pay raises and introduced legislation to permanently revoke automatic pay raises for members of Congress
  • Voted to support creation of a bipartisan Debt Commission
  • Helped pass into law legislation to modernize the way federal agencies work, set goals for efficiency, and publicly report progress to taxpayers
  • Eliminated an ineffective “Animal ID” program, saving millions of taxpayer dollars
  • Helped pass Wall Street reform to end taxpayer funded bailouts