Conferees Debate UI Extension Legislation – Lots of Debate Over GED/Diploma Requirement

Senate and House conferees have been meeting this week to resolve their differences on the Social Security payroll tax cut extension, the unemployment insurance (UI) program, Medicare physicians payment fix — and a few other items — in the hopes of coming up with a compromise bill in the next few weeks. House Republicans have been pushing a proposal to deny UI benefits to individuals without a high school diploma unless they are enrolled in classes that will lead to a GED or another “state-recognized equivalent.”

You can watch today’s discussion here, via C-SPAN. A great deal of time was spent today debating the diploma/GED requirement. They are meeting again tomorrow. In the meantime, Sen. Baucus (D-MT) promised House Republicans that the Senate would have an alternative proposal ready in time for tomorrow’s meeting.

Meanwhile, the National Coalition for Literacy, which already issued an action alert on this issue, has now also circulated a letter to conferees (which, in the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I helped write) outlining why the House proposal is unfair and unworkable.

Also, see CLASP’s latest statement on the House proposal here.