Posted by Buellboy
U.S. Readies Jobless Aid and Help on Homes
New York Times/Jackie Calmes & David Stout—In separate actions to address Americans’ continuing economic hardship, the government moved Thursday to assist long-unemployed workers and struggling businesses, as well as home buyers and homeowners facing foreclosure.
Fannie Mae, the federally controlled mortgage company, announced a Deed for Lease program in which those in danger of eviction may be able to stay as tenants in their houses for at least a year.
At the same time, Congress gave final approval to a stimulus measure that will extend unemployment benefits for the longtime jobless, aid that will bring total assistance for many to nearly two years. Other provisions of the bill will expand two popular tax breaks — one for home buyers, the other for businesses operating at a loss.
President Obama will sign the measure into law on Friday morning, aides said. That will allow him to deliver a bit of good news just as the government releases the monthly unemployment report, which is expected to confirm that the jobless rate remained around 10 percent in October.
To that end, Democratic Congressional leaders expedited action on the legislation in recent days after six weeks of partisan wrangling in the Senate. The House, which passed a bill in September, voted Thursday by 403 to 12 to accept the version that the Senate finally approved unanimously on Wednesday. That sent the bill to the president.
The measure provides up to 14 weeks of additional assistance to unemployed people who have exhausted their state and federal benefits, but up to 20 additional weeks to those in about 26 states with unemployment rates exceeding 8.5 percent. In the past two months, more than 600,000 out-of-work people have exhausted their benefits, according to the National Employment Law Project, a liberal advocacy group. The legislation will not restore aid retroactively.
Posted by TheLCster
Actor Brad Pitt speaks during a panel discussion about rebuilding New Orleans, at the Clinton Global Initiative, in New York, September 24, 2009. About 1,200 participants including heads of state, business leaders, humanitarians and celebrities will attend the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) which started on Tuesday.
Reuters Television—Actor Brad Pitt was honored on Thursday for his humanitarian work in helping rebuild hurricane-ravaged New Orleans at former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s philanthropic summit, the Clinton Global Initiative.
Pitt was presented with a plaque from the U.S. Green Building Council which said the actor and his foundation “Make It Right” had created the “largest and greenest single-family community in the world.”
“‘Make It Right’ has exceeded my expectations,” said Pitt who set up the foundation in 2007.
“Our criteria from the beginning were at odds, to say the least. We demanded that these homes be sustainable, that they have aesthetic qualities … that they be storm resilient and take safety in mind of the families who live there and that they would be affordable.”
“Make It Right” has created 13 homes in the New Orleans area the 9th Ward, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Each house is unique and has eco-friendly features like green roofs, which can cut heating and cooling costs dramatically.
Pitt said the biggest challenge was keeping homes affordable.