Thune Seeks to Give ACA Exemption for Hiring Long-Term Unemployed

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 05:37 PM

By Greg Richter

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Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., says his amendment to the Senate's unemployment bill would give businesses a break while helping cut the jobless rate. But Democratic support seems unlikely.

Thune's amendment would exempt a company from Obamacare's employer mandate for any employee it hires who is termed "long-term unemployed." The company would never be required to provide health insurance for such employees, which would save them about $3,000, Thune said Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto."

The amendment also would allow for a six-month payroll tax holiday on the employee and would provide the long-term unemployed with a $10,000 loan to be used for relocating to new jobs more than 50 miles away.

"We're trying to think of practical things that actually address the problem rather than just continuing to deal with the symptom of this," Thune said.

The senator admitted, however, that Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is unlikely to allow the amendment, since he hasn't been much for putting GOP proposals up for vote lately.

The Senate has voted on only four Republican amendments since July, Thune said.

The Senate voted Tuesday to move forward the bill that would extend unemployment compensation benefits. The original extension expired at the end of the year.

Republicans have expressed a willingness to extend the benefits if money can be found to pay for the benefit.

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