WASHINGTON (CN) – Shortly after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a 10.2 percent unemployment rate on Firday, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill extending unemployment benefits.
“I can promise you that I won’t let up until the Americans who want to find work can find work,” Obama said in the Rose Garden after signing the bill.
The bill extends benefits for a maximum of 20 extra weeks, with the longest extensions going to those in states suffering from the highest unemployment.
The bill had bipartisan support, passing out of the Senate with a 98 to 0 vote and out of the House with a 403 to 12 vote.
The 700,000 Americans who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits are able to once again tap into the averaged $300 per week assistance.
Thirty-six percent of unemployed Americans have been without work for more than six months.
The measure will not add to the deficit, Obama said, largely because it postpones tax provisions that benefit U.S. multinational corporations.
The government announced a 10.2 percent unemployment rate, marking a 26-year high. The increase from 9.2 percent comes after 190,000 more jobs were lost in October.
The provision also allows businesses to claim 2008 and 2009 losses to recoup taxes paid over the last five years, and postpones repayment of the roughly $33 billion until the businesses regain strength.
And it extends the home buyer tax credit through April, where first-time homebuyers can claim up to $8,000 in tax credits. A similar tax credit will apply to members of the armed services until May of 2011.