Murkowski Backs Fix to Veterans’ and Unemployment Benefits

Senator Co-Sponsors Responsible and Compassionate Solution to Issues Facing Senate

As the Senate continues to debate a three month extension of unemployment benefits, Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced she is joining a number of her Senate colleagues to co-sponsor Senator Kelly Ayotte’s (R-NH) Senate Amendment 2063 to the Unemployment Benefit Extension Bill, which both funds a three month extension of long-term unemployment insurance benefits and repeals the cuts in yearly pension increases for early military retirees that was a component of the bipartisan budget deal.  The bill would be funded by cracking down on tax fraud to reduce improper payments of tax credits.

“This amendment keeps our promise to our veterans and demonstrates compassion to thousands of Alaskans and more than a million American long-term unemployed victims of the administration’s policy failures,” said Murkowski.  “I was outspoken in my criticism of the provision that will begin cutting the cost-of-living adjustment for early military retirement benefits in 2016, and committed to our men and women in uniform to find a fix.  This bill accomplishes both goals and doesn’t add a dime to the nation’s deficit.”

Funding these two priorities will come from amending the federal tax code to make sure that tax filers can prove their legal status through a social security number before applying for child tax credits – a tax loophole that the independent Government Accountability Office reports is a $4.2 billion dollar problem.  Social security numbers are currently required when filers attempt to claim other tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Senator Murkowski voted in support of the bipartisan budget deal to avoid the turmoil created in Alaska and across the country by the federal government shutdown and provide more economic certainty to the nation. She co-sponsored an amendment from Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) in December to remove the COLA decrease for military retirement benefits from the bill, but the Majority Leader blocked the measure from consideration.  Murkowski is also a co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Promise to Our Military Heroes Act introduced by Senator Ayotte.