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Thune introduces jobs bill to tackle long-term unemployment

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., this week introduced the Solutions to Long-Term Unemployment Act (S. 2038), which seeks to address long-term unemployment by reducing the cost of hiring and providing relocation resources for long-term unemployed individuals, as well as strengthening and streamlining federal worker training programs.

Thune’s bill mirrors the amendment he offered as an alternative to S.1845, the Democrats’ unemployment insurance extension bill, which would extend emergency unemployment compensation for the 13th time since 2008.

“There are 3.6 million Americans who have been unemployed for six months or longer,” Thune said in a prepared statement. “We need to do everything we can to make it easier and less expensive for these men and women to fi nd jobs.”

Thune’s bill would exempt long-term unemployed individuals from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for certain businesses to provide health insurance or pay a fine for each uninsured employee; enact a six-month employer-side payroll tax holiday for each long-term unemployed individual hired; provide a one-time, low-interest loan up to $10,000 for a long-term unemployed individual to relocate more than 50 miles away to start a new job or to relocate to a new state or metropolitan area with an unemployment rate that is at least two percentage points less than the individual’s current state or metropolitan area; and streamline and improve job training by including the House-passed SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which would consolidate 35 federal employment and training programs and create a Workforce Investment Fund to serve as a single source of support for employers, workers, and job seekers at the state level.