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Dems Lose Big on Unemployment Insurance/Tax Extenders Vote

June 16, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

After two weeks of solid debate — and two weeks of people having their unemployment insurance cut off because of congressional inaction — the Senate this morning took their first test vote on passing H.R. 4213, the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.” They failed miserably. The final vote count was 45-52. Sixty votes were needed to proceed.

The bill would, among other things, extend the filing deadline to November 30, 2010 for people whose unemployment benefits are expiring and are looking to move into the next tier of extended federal benefits. The current deadline took effect on June 2, and has already caused about 400,000 unemployed Americans to see their extended benefits end prematurely.

The bill also contains a handful of tax-credit extensions, dozens of tax cut provisions targeted at specific industries, $24 billion in aid for states struggling to pay for Medicaid, a 19-month delay of a scheduled 21% pay cut for doctors under Medicare, and more, for a total net cost of about $141 billion. Because $78 billion of that isn’t paid for with new revenues, the Senate had to vote on waiving their self-induced pay-as-you-go rule requiring all new spending to be fully offset. This motion on waiving pay-as-you-go is what they voted on today and failed overwhelmingly to pass.

No Republicans voted in favor of the motion, and 11 Democrats broke rank and voted with Republicans against it. Full roll call details can be seen here. We’ll have the roll call info up on OpenCongress soon, but for now you can view it here.

So, what’s the next step?

Carl Hulse reports that the Dems are putting unemployment benefits at the front of the chopping block:

Senate Democrats are exploring whether to eliminate an extra $25 a week in unemployment benefits, part of the economic stimulus legislation passed in 2009, as a way to cut costs and attract Republican votes for a stalled package of tax breaks, tax increases on the affluent and safety-net spending.

Top officials said that change would save billions of dollars over the next six months and could lead to approval of an overall extension of jobless pay by making the legislative package easier to swallow for lawmakers worried about deficit spending.

Among other changes under consideration is blocking a cut in Medicare fees paid to doctors for just one year rather than the 19 months approved last month by the House, which was already a reduction from the three years of relief sought earlier.

Taking out the extra $25 per month would save about $6 billion this year, and shortening the Medicare pay-cut delay would lower the cost of the bill by roughly $8 billion, though this should pretty much be seen as a gimmick because you can be sure that Congress will be back 12 months down the road to extend the patch again as they have been doing consistently since 2003.

Yesterday, the general feeling was that Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] and others believed that taking these items out and getting the bill’s net deficit impact down to $64 billion or so would be enough to round up 60 votes and get this bill out of the Senate. But I think the wide margin of failure in today’s vote may change those calculations. I think there is going to have to be a more thorough reimagining of the legislative package at hand, which, of course, is going to mean more delay and more unemployed people losing their benefits.

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Displaying 31-58 of 58 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    juleeann 06/17/2010 4:11am

    What’s irresponsible is the millions of $$ of pork included in the bill. Do you think it’s “responsible” to provide money for hollywood filmmakers before the unemployed…or maybe you’re one of them?

  • avasconcellos 06/16/2010 12:49pm

    I am 55 years old. This is the first time in my lifetime that Congress has been worried about how to pay for anything they spend money on. Come on, America, do you really think Congress gives a crap about paying for what they spend? TARP doesn’t require a payback. TARP is a Congressional give-away to their campaign supporters disguised as banks, car manufacturers and insurance companies. Write emails to every Senator that voted against the unemployment extension and don’t be nice about it. This is a time for American citizens to take the gloves off, tell off the rotten-to-the-bone Senators and make damn sure none of them return to Congress in the Fall.

  • ladob1028 06/16/2010 1:06pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I want to thank all the people who just screwed up everything for me. I have worked my whole life. I have never asked anyone for a handout and have never drawn unemployment until December 2009. Now I have no income and no way to support myself or my children. I had no warning, no nothing that I wasnt going to get my first extenstion. While there have been people on it forever and I havent I am now the one penalized. While the big shots sit and vote on issues that affect my life that I have no say in. Thank you for giving me now way to support myself and no other options. I have applied for job after job and no breaks. So while you all earn your money I hope you all feel like great people while I sit and figure out how I am going to pay my bills. I have resorted to pawning my things I paid for to get gas money. Thanks for nothing because I’m sure nothing I say matters or makes a difference.

  • Comm_reply
    hollyreece 06/17/2010 7:41am

    I’m in the exact same situation as you are. Unemployed since Dec 2009, now totally cut off with no extension after many fruitless job applications. Missed the deadline by “one week”. Shame on the people who voted “nay” and shame on one of my own state’s senators for “Abstaining”. It’s like he’s saying “I don’t care one way or the other”. Get it together Byrd!

  • Comm_reply
    sofia_24 06/17/2010 10:14am

    Senators Hutchinson and Cornyn from Tx, I voted for you, but this time around you will not have my vote!! Get it together you are ruining lives!! Have consideration for the people!!

  • ddcain2003 06/16/2010 1:36pm

    I’m in the same boat ladob 1028, things are looking bad for my family as well, and I have a 6 month old granddaughter living with me. Must be nice to be a Congressman and not worry about paying your bills or whether or not your pension will be there when you retire. What a sorry bunch of asshole’s.

  • Comm_reply
    ladob1028 06/17/2010 4:20am

    No one thinks about the little man like us. They say they do but they dont. They dont think twice about making their big money or asking for gigantic raises. They dont think about us when they are taking their trips around the world while we struggle just to make ends meet. We have a sorry group of people making decisions for people like us. While they vote on things we dont need or bail out these corporations what about the real American people who have lost their jobs and depend on unemployment right now? Thanks for making decisions that affect my life and then take away the very thing that supports me. Why dont you all work on people who take from the government everyday that dont deserve it. The ones who live off the system and teach their children to do the very same thing. No cant do that would rather screw us.

  • ronaldmoore 06/16/2010 2:37pm

    so i dont understand is there going to be a revote or is this the end of the line

  • Comm_reply
    juleeann 06/17/2010 4:20am

    There will be a revote, but it doesn’t look favorable for us in any way. First time in my 53 years I’ve been on unemployment- no extension of any kind. Glad my kids are grown but i truly feel bad for those who have kids at home. You see pelosi got a new office worth thousands, that of course we’re paying for. Clearly- they have a paycheck and have no concern whether we do or not. NOW, they suggest drug testing- it would cost $$$$$. I don’t mind taking one, but who of us can afford drugs at a time like this!!

  • homelessca 06/16/2010 2:42pm

    Ok now what? I have been unemployed for 13 months. I interview every day for fast food even. I will not make 100k a year again, I know that . I just need something,stood in line for 3hrs tody to interview for $8.00 hr part time catering job. Since this did not pass, I just recieved my last check $450.00 monday, so do not quailify for 3rd ext. I have sold everything thing, Car/furniture/bike/tv’s ect. Went through all savings, quit making 4k amonth house payment in sept. House with no running water, being sold on court house steps 7/5. No where to go and no way to get there and no family. Single white male, so do not qualified for any hand outs, so I guess down to a homeless shelter on 7/5. Oh wait, already tried that. They have a several month waiting list. I guess I will be in the park with others like myself, or possible tent city some where. I,am sick, with all the taxes I have paid for 35yrs. Thanks America. OFF THE GRID NOW. WILL VOTE AGAIN IN NOV.

  • HATCHT 06/16/2010 3:11pm

    Ok, so if you guys on the hill need my extra 25.00, to cover all the other stupid stuff you are arguing over, take it. And then pass this bill. People are suffering right here in your own back yard. Get it done now!

  • mel1776 06/16/2010 3:51pm

    I can’t wait to vote in November. Our Texas reps are a bunch of millionaires that never had to worry about where their next paycheck was coming from. I am fortunate to have a job, but those who do not have jobs are really screwed.

    Our congress is a joke. It’s like watching a bunch of 5 year olds fighting over the red lollipop.

  • craines 06/16/2010 4:08pm

    You republics are a bunch of sorry son’s a bitches, you’ve set us up to fall. Just remember it’s our sons and daughters fighting your dam wars, we pull your asses out of the rumble when the buildings come down.

    The police offers, fire fighters, and Iron workers risk their lives to save your asses, And then you leave us hanging … you don’t want to build powerhouses to put us to back to work, Republican business people don’t want wind mills any where near them because it might hurt business and you out source everything, there fricking work

    This models not working for us, it’s working for you. Maybe next time you need us,
    we’ll just out source it. When the shit really hits the fan you’re going to look around and no one going to be there.


  • Allana1 06/16/2010 5:33pm

    Ok don’t just remember in November start bombarding their home states email, mail, and fax machines with letters so that they know that you are a person. Email a news agency about your plight because I don’t see enough coverage on it. We are getting swept under the rug by the freakin oil spill. We can gripe here or start taking action! Maybe if they see how many people are affected by their inaction and how it looks in the public eye they might straighten up! You know it is all about the image with most of these people!

  • Comm_reply
    meldanley 06/16/2010 6:00pm

    I am from the state of Ky and we have no one in office who supports us, I email them daily for all the good it does…they are heartless uncaring asses! It insults me everytime I hear one of them say they are representing me apparently they don’t know much about me or thousands of others in their state or they would not be voting no. I can only pray that God looks down and sees how these politicians have treated those in need and says no more and takes from them what they are unwilling to help us save our homes and our dignity. I was raised to treat people the way I want to be treated apparently they were not raised by caring people and were not taught you take care of those who are struggling. Once again we lay our heads down full of fear and worry while they stand for the big corporations and the rich.

  • CuttieBiteMe 06/16/2010 6:32pm

    I agree with all of you!!! How can we wait til November??? I get my LAST unemployment check tomorrow…rent due on the first…single mom with two kids…and I have worked since i was 15 yrs old…I can not tell you how many applications/resumes I have filled out…and I’ve only gotten ONE call back…ONE…in over a year….

    What do i tell my boys…when there is no roof over our head…no food to eat…no where to go?? How can these people sit up there and wonder how we ar going to “Pay it Back?” I’ve not seen one damn article on how we are financing the war in Iraq..yet we can throw away Trillions of dollars…not to mention men…..we will invest BILLIONS to scrub oil off a shit eating seagulls..(dont’ get me wrong..I care about the planet…but priorities people!).yet when it comes to the families…the desperate…broke…depressed…and needy American people…WHERE IS OUR GOVERNMENT THEN??

  • FIreTiger3986 06/16/2010 7:14pm

    It’s time to rise up. Our government officials are so corrupt I’m not sure even voting them out of office will stop them from influencing the decisions made for our welfare. There are many clones standing in line waiting to take the place of these demons when they are voted out. The devil is alive and he wears a suit and tie. We must organize and overthrow them. Things are going to get much worse before they get better. Prepare yourselves and your children as best you can. We are standing on the doorstep of revolution, for many there is nothing left to lose, that in itself makes a person very dangerous and everyday those numbers are growing.

  • Comm_reply
    general 06/17/2010 7:10am

    I agree 100% the time is coming sooner than they think greece was nothing compared to what we can do you know there are 10 million of us unemployed because of the greedy business these senators are trying to protect it time for action!

  • Comm_reply
    NewYorker82 06/17/2010 7:46am

    What is so difficult about passing the most important bill out there. What is more important than this? Many of these bills connected to this are long term issues, none of which comes close to the urgency of all of the unemployed. This money is not being thrown to the wind. We put it right back into the economy, pay taxes on it, keeps the wheels moving. It was reported today in New York that there are more homeless families and its on the rise Groups of people/families are loosing their quality of life in record numbers.
    No one in congress should be allowed to go home until they pass this. Only thing on TV should be these assholes talking about how they want to screw us. Then we could re run their statements over and over when they try to re run for office. We should all march onto Washington or sit on the thruways across the US blocking all traffic until they hear us.

  • mamart 06/16/2010 7:31pm

    It truely hurts my soul to read about all of these people suffering. Tonight I will pray for all of you. When times are hard and it seems there is no end praying always makes me feel better. God Bless you all and may there be a resolution to all of your problems soon.

  • alpryor00 06/17/2010 5:04am

    I think this is crap!!Come on and sign the damn bill!! Take the extra $25 and get this passed,there is alot of us that are in need of that money. You all are wearin your fancy suits,going home to your nice houses not worring about losing them while millions of us are barly living day to day!

  • elleedr 06/17/2010 6:21am

    Do you know what is really sad? I’ll tell you what is sad. My husband has worked all his life over 40 years and has never been unemployed. The company that he worked for laid him off of work two days before Christmas 2008. The funny part about this story is after they laid him and others off, they give the other employees overtime. What sense does this make? Congress better be thankful they don’t have a regular joe in congress cause if it was me I would be fining companies that are moving their companies oversees, hiring illegals and working overtime. If the companies are working overtime common sense will tell you that they need more employees, so why lay off. Crack down on these companies that are trying to be slick and maybe the economy will start to build back up. I know that many companies are hiring illegal immigrants and checking any papers to see if they are for real or not. How many jobs would be opened up then for the true Americans that need it? Think about it…

  • SmokinBull 06/17/2010 6:27am

    That guy with the purple tie, in the photo above, looks pretty happy over the decision. I would like to wipe that smile off his face. What a bunch of greedy assholes. They really dont give a crap about all of us who are suffering, while they get GIANT paychecks and sit on their fat asses all day and accomplish absolutely NOTHING.

  • Comm_reply
    general 06/17/2010 7:13am


  • NewYorker82 06/17/2010 8:04am

    There is nothing more important on the table than the unemployment extension. All that is attached to this is not equal to the urgency of the millions of people that are in great need (all of these People 99ers included) This money goes right back into the economy, pay taxes on it, all of the people are people who were working, people with education, skilled workers, committed to families/communities. What is so difficult about passing this? Nothing should be on TV except these guys talking about how they want to screw the American people and we can rerun these statements over and over when they run for office. What they are underestimating is the voting power behind this inexcusable action.

  • elleedr 06/17/2010 8:13am

    If you are apart of the American unemployed or share the same views as the unemployed and want to have a peaceful march on Washington to show that we do need our unemployment or in support of unemployment, email me at This has to be done, a peaceful stand needs to take place soon to make a difference. Before a lot of Americans lose the little bit that they do have. We didn’t ask for the economy to be this way and it is not our fault that we can not find jobs all at the same time. We worked all of our lives and now that we need help, the people in congress is saying no! We are the ones that help pay for wars, national disasters, and the congressmen paychecks. Now they are telling us that they cannot pass a bill so we can feed and house our families. What is more important the “Oil Spill” or the unemployed and their children. I don’t think so, it’s time for a peaceful march, email me at, to make a peaceful stand now.

  • Chris51 07/03/2010 10:14pm

    Why don’t our Senators get that there is a great need?

    The job market is broken.
    The corporate executives are not going to give up their year-end profit bonus by adding jobs/payroll to their companies.

    Here are a few stories on our jobless nation:

    Job recovery hits a wall

    Job gloom at all time high

    7.9 million jobs lost- many forever

    Jobless claims spike

    Thousands at risk for losing unemployment benefits

  • Chris51 07/10/2010 7:19am

    Republicans filibustered UI Ext bill! They’re asking for UI Ext be paid, while at the same time they’re fighting to give their Special Interest groups special tax stimulus. Rep are trying to look like they care about the deficit, but for 10 yrs (Bush Admin) they never spoke of concerns for the huge deficit they were digging us into as they approved large spending for Special Interest. The Rep debate on these UI Ext bills are like “broken record”. They want USA to use the stimulus money that is already committed to the agreed upon projects, programs, etc. Republicans want USA to “rob Peter to pay Paul”, so they can try to prolong the problem past November election. This is how they have operated for YEARS, and we’re in worse shape now because of their IRRESPONSIBLENESS. People should not be in Leadership positions if they cant make decision for the problems at hand.
    Dont take my word for it. Please read links Donny Shaw and others have provided with accurate research and reporting.

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