Thu July 21, 2011
Debt deal

Udall Seeks to End Unemployment Payments for Millionaires as Part of Debt Deal

As negotiations continue over the debt limit in Washington, Colorado senator Mark Udall is asking lawmakers to put an end to unemployment payments for millionaires.

This week in a letter co-authored with fellow Democratic senator Jon Tester of Montana and Republican senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Udall asks President Obama and congressional leaders to stop giving unemployment benefits to millionaires and billionaires.   

The letter states that “unemployment benefits are intended as a social safety net for people who lose jobs, not to provide an extra cushion for the financially well off.”

Udall says the move would save taxpayers more than $100 million over the next five years.  According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service 2,840 households reporting income of at least $1 million in 2008 received nearly $19 million in unemployment benefits. This included 17 households with incomes exceeding $10 million.

The three senators introduced an amendment to end the payments earlier this year.  The Senate approved it unanimously in April -- but the bill it was attached to at the time was not adopted.