OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

Dems Eye Medicaid Cuts to Unstick the Unemployment/Tax Extenders Bill

June 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Since late May, the Senate has been stymied by a piece of must-pass legislation, H.R. 4213, that combines a 6-month unemployment insurance extension, billions in tax credits designed to protect jobs, billions in aid for states struggling to pay for Medicaid, and tax hikes on wealthy individuals and corporations. The bill, which has been pared down several times already, costs $55 billion, which failed roll call after failed roll call has shown to be just too much for Senate moderates and conservatives to swallow this close to the midterms.

But the Democrats are committed to passing the unemployment insurance extension, and they are once again paring down the bill to round up support among moderates and overcome a Republican-led filibuster. According to CQ Politics, here’s what they are looking at now for savings:

The most significant change being discussed would shrink the cost of a $24.2 billion provision that extends extra federal Medicaid funds to struggling states. In a new version, which was circulating among lobbyists Tuesday morning but not released or confirmed by lawmakers and aides, the federal assistance first enacted in the 2009 stimulus law would be gradually phased down over the coming fiscal year.

Democrats have been insisting that the Medicaid money remain in the bill to aid vulnerable patients and help cushion the economy against potential layoffs in state governments. The House removed the money last month to cut the cost of the bill, but, under pressure, the Senate added it back.

For now, it appears that the 6-month unemployment insurance extension, which is actually an extension of the filing deadline for people looking to move into higher tiers of extended federal benefits, will not be shortened or otherwise weakened in this revision.

The big question now is if this Medicaid cut proposal will be enough to win over at least two moderates to help the Dems overcome a GOP filibuster. They have been looking mostly at Sen. Susan Collins [R, ME] and Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME]. According to the same CQ article, it sounds like Collins’ vote may be within reach here, but Snowe sounds like she could still be a problem:

One key swing voter, Susan Collins , R-Maine, noted that she has long advocated for a phase-down approach to the Medicaid assistance that would avoid a cliff for state budgets. “I proposed it over a year ago, because I thought it was good policy,” she said.

Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, said she has been meeting with Democrats about the bill and that they are looking at an approach that would shrink the cost of the Medicaid provision to $20 billion and use $4 billion in unspent stimulus money to cover some of that cost. Then, Snowe said, she has been urging Democrats to look at various spending items in the bill to see if they could be reduced. However, Snowe also wants to remove several of the revenue-raising provisions, which could increase the amount that is not paid for.

It was not clear early Tuesday how the changes being discussed would affect the deficit impact or the cloture vote count. Minority Whip Jon Kyl , R-Ariz., said he thought at least some cut in the Medicaid aid would be necessary to get the bill to pass.

Stay tuned. No official announcement has been made by Senate Dems yet on what the revision of H.R. 4213 they bring to the floor this week will look like. We will update on the blog as soon as final details are available.

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.
 

Comments

Displaying 1-30 of 57 total comments.

  • laidbackjt 06/22/2010 10:52am

    Do it now. Do it today.

  • Comm_reply
    rbd1217 06/22/2010 11:57am

    Please do it yesterday. Use some money from institutional buyout repayments or some of the worthwhile war money???? I could have survived a little longer but my 401k was wiped out when the big financial exec’s got their big bonuses and sunk the market. Please listen to us we will give you a vote. Show us we have as much say as a huge lobbiest with millions in campaign cont.’s.

  • comments11660 06/22/2010 11:03am

    Please do something soon to extend the unemployment benefits so we can keep our cars and pay our rent while trying to find jobs. For us without jobs it makes sense to trim the budget to the point we can survive financially if that means bringing home the troops from a war we cannot afford.

  • omega12000 06/22/2010 11:44am

    I wonder how they would feel if they lost their job through no fault of theirs and we cut off their only source of revenue!

  • Rationalview 06/22/2010 11:47am

    I am wondering if those currently employed should take a look at how difficult it is for the unemployed to obtain unemployment insurance benefits – maybe, they should scratch their heads and think twice about paying into unemployment – we are proof that it is only given back in small increments at the mercy of congress. Putting the money under your mattress might have been a better way to go – at least, it would be there when you needed it and there would be no one standing over it making you beg for money that is rightfully yours. Not only should these deadlines be extended but there should be no question or debating about it. Insurance is the operative word. We all buy insurance just in case a tragedy strikes – no one ever wants to use it. This is money that we put aside for a rainy day – now that it is raining – someone else has their hand on the umbrella latch while we are standing out in the storm getting pneumonia.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 06/30/2010 10:47pm

    The Senate needs to be held accountable for their incompetence and lack of integrity. Shame on them for not coming up with a 100% solution for all Americans who are forced to survive on their UI.

    President Obama can’t sign a bill, if Congress doesn’t get it to him. President Obama’s discussed the economy, and the need to help the displaced unemployed with UI Extentions on Monday and Tuesday. CSPAN.ORG

    As of today, we have 9.7% unemployed, 55% of the workforce have taken reduced work hours, pay-cuts, unpaid leave, forced to switch to part-time, and BP Oil Corporation’s IRRESPONSIBLENESS is adding to LOST JOBS and LOST LIVES.
    1.2 million who will lose their Unemployment Insurance if Republicans get their way.

    The GOP have no vested interest in hearing or helping jobless people. The only communication Republicans hear is $$$$$. That’s why they listen to and only support Oil Companies, Insurance Companies, Banks, Big Corporations, and Wall Street

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/08/2010 7:22pm

    Senator’s excuse for not passing is a false statement.
    Read all about it:
    The funding argument is even harder to swallow. I’d be more sympathetic with these new converts to fiscal responsibility if they were as enthusiastic about paying for extending $32 billion worth of special interest tax breaks as they are about funding the unemployment extension. If I understand correctly, these lawmakers insist that Congress fund every dime of added jobless aid, which nearly all analysts agree will help boost the economy. But they feel no need to pay for continuing these special interest tax breaks, which will not.
    Full Story:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/Tax-VOX/2010/0707/Senate-struggles-with-unemployment-benefits

  • Spam Comment

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/01/2010 9:38am

    Corporations have increased their cash reserves to $1.84 TRILLION, THE HIGHEST FIGURE IN HISTORY! Big business and the banks, after an unprecedented bailout by the public treasury, are hoarding the funds (Americans pay this back on their IRS tax bill). BIG CORPORATIONS EXECUTIVES ARE MAKING BIG BONUSES AND GETTING SALARY INCREASES FOR SHOWING HUGE PROFITS. The cash reserves of major corporations have jumped 26 percent in one year, the largest percentage increase in nearly 60 years. The cash reserves of working people, and particularly the unemployed, have not been so fortunate.

    REPUBLICANS bloc, the SENATE vote and defeat sevaral proposed extension of unemployment benefits for unemployed workers. Many of these same Senators rushed through a $700 BILLION bailout of Wall Street in 2008 in a matter of days, cannot bring itself to support even the most meager subsistence for the unemployed workers who are the victims, not the perpetrators, of the economic crisis.
    WWW.CHANGE.ORG

  • Drewbot78 06/22/2010 11:47am

    Even they admit this is a jobless “recovery”. And I call bull on the supposed recovery.

  • KASwann 06/22/2010 11:54am

    Pretty sad I was on unemployment just 26 weeks and fell into this crack and do not qualify for tier 1, 2 3 4 extended benefits. I am waiting patiently to see what they are going to do, there are not many jobs out there. Sad that they let newly unemployed people such as myself down… 6 months of benefits while others are still without work after 18 months or more and collecting. Maybe they should add incentives for them to be retrained or go to school.

  • Comm_reply
    dmpetrick 06/24/2010 7:33am

    Go to change.org and sign the petitiion. I am in the same boat. I even called in advance to make sure my unemployment wasn’t ending. But then at the beginning of this month, they abruptly said I was cut off. Now I have been freaking out and praying for weeks, and here comes the end of the month. What do I do about my COBRA payment? How do I get my car inspected? This is so evil. Consider that they approved a $700 billion bailout for banks and fund managers without all this fuss. I have emailed everybody I can think of about this and am so upset. One suggestion I have for others is to write a letter to those you owe money to explaining the situation. Pass the bill today!

  • sdphouston 06/22/2010 11:58am

    Join us in chat to discuss politics and the lack of passing unemployment

    http://blahcongress.chatango.com/

  • help1963 06/22/2010 12:01pm

    I just don,t know for the life of me why is it so hard to approve the extension to aal the americans who have lost their jobs no fault of their own we need help not those with estsates thye have money enough to not sink at times like this its the americans who are not millionaires who need help arent we americans too get it together give us the help we need

  • donwandeep1 06/22/2010 12:18pm

    They need to pass it b/c I need the money. They don’t understand because they have money but I have 2 kids and I am trying to pay bills here and stuff. Pass it already I need my unemployment.

  • amomjl 06/22/2010 12:21pm

    okay, I’m confused… Before June 2nd I exhausted my tiers of EUC, and had 2wks of extended benefits left which i have also claimed.Well currently like alot of us I have no unemployment coming in..Until this bill gets approved. My question is, will I even be able to get benefits since I basically drained all of my benefits before the June 2nd.

  • Comm_reply
    jgpt777 06/22/2010 1:05pm

    AMOMJL, WHEN THE EXTENTION PASSES, THE MAY 30, 2010 DATE WILL CHANGE TO NOVEMBER 30, 2010..SO YOU WILL RECIEVE WHAT YOU QUAILIFY FOR. I HOPE THIS HELPS

    UI Benefits During This Recession UI Claims Maximum Weeks of Benefits Provided Deadline for Starting This UI Claim
    Regular UI Claim Up to 26 weeks of benefits Once someone becomes unemployed
    1st Tier of Federal Extension Up to 20 weeks of benefits May 23, 2010
    2nd Tier of Federal Extension Up to 14 weeks of benefits May 30, 2010
    3rd Tier of Federal Extension Up to 13 weeks of benefits May 30, 2010
    4th Tier of Federal Extension Up to 6 weeks of benefits May 30, 2010
    Separate FED-ED Extension

    POTENTIAL TOTAL MAXIMUM BENEFITS Up to 20 weeks of benefits

    Up to 99 weeks of benefits May 30, 2010, last payable week is June 12

  • Comm_reply
    JParvin07 06/22/2010 3:17pm

    Ok, I am going to sound like an idiot but, I am confused too…..I exhusted my claim (I have not had any extensions yet) on May 23, 2010….how many week can I recieve? When I claimd my benifits on 6/16/2010 even though I only got the Non-Neg check stub it states I have enough for 10 weeks of unemp. can I still qualify for another 10 weeks after the 10? Of course this is all dependant on the bill being passed cause as of now I am not getting any.

  • Comm_reply
    neilK 06/22/2010 5:30pm

    jqpt777 I don’t want to sound ignorant but what is the Separate FED-ED Extension you are making reference to in the list of Tiers and dates?

  • Comm_reply
    jgpt777 06/22/2010 6:05pm

    NEILK, THE SEPERATE FED ED EXTENTSION IS FOR STATES WITH HIGH UNEMPOYMENT, LIKE CALIFORNIA..MAYBE YOUR ALSO..BUT ITS A DIFFERENT AND DEAD-LINE WAS JUNE 12,2010..THIS NEW EXTENTSION BILL SHOULD CHANGE THAT DATE. IT IS A WHOLE SEPERATE EXTENTSION, YOU WOULD GET AFTER YOU FINISH YOUR 4 TIERS.

    THE DEAD LINE WOULD CHANGE TO NOVEMBER 30TH AFTER THE NEW EXTENTSION PASS
    DIFFRENT TIERS———————-[WKS PROVIDED]— [DEAD LINE TO STARTIN CLAIM]
    1st Tier of Federa Extnsion Up to 20 weeks of [ benefits May 23, 2010]
    2nd Tier of Federal Extension Up to 14 weeks of [ benefits May 30, 2010]
    3rd Tier of Federal Extension Up to 13 weeks of [ benefits May 30, 2010]
    4th Tier of Federal Extension Up to 6 weeks of [ benefits May 30, 2010]

    Separate FED-ED Extension
    POTENTIAL TOTAL MAXIMUM BENEFITS Up to 20 weeks of benefits
    Up to 99 weeks of benefits May 30, 2010, last payable week is June 12

  • Comm_reply
    Rationalview 06/23/2010 3:42am

    I still don’t understand how you arrive at 99 – I get 79 – and that includes the initial 26 weeks – please clarify – thanks.

  • Comm_reply
    jgpt777 06/23/2010 6:59am

    RATIONALVIEW, YOU SEE THE 79 WEEKS, THE OTHER 20 WEEKS IS THE FED ED EXTENTSION, THAT ONLY GIVEN TO CERTAIN STATES WITH HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, LIKE MY STATE CALIFORNIA. BUT AS OF RIGHT NOW THE LAST PAYABLE WEEK FOR THE FED ED IS JUNE 12, 2010.

  • Comm_reply
    jgpt777 06/22/2010 3:29pm

    SO, AMOMJL, THE DEAD LINE WOULD CHANGE TO NOVEMBER 30TH AFTER THE EXTENTSION BILL IS PASSED, IM NOT SHURE ABOUT THE FED ED 20WKS, WHAT THE DEADLINE DATE WOULD BE.

    UI Benefits During This Recession UI Claims Maximum Weeks of Benefits Provided Deadline for Starting This UI Claim
    Regular UI Claim Up to 26 weeks of benefits Once someone becomes unemployed
    [WKS PROVIDED] [DEAD LINE TO STARTIN CLAIM]
    1st Tier of Federal Extension Up to 20 weeks of [ benefits May 23, 2010]
    2nd Tier of Federal Extension Up to 14 weeks of [ benefits May 30, 2010]
    3rd Tier of Federal Extension Up to 13 weeks of [ benefits May 30, 2010]
    4th Tier of Federal Extension Up to 6 weeks of [ benefits May 30, 2010]

    Separate FED-ED Extension
    POTENTIAL TOTAL MAXIMUM BENEFITS Up to 20 weeks of benefits

    Up to 99 weeks of benefits May 30, 2010, last payable week is June 12

  • amomjl 06/22/2010 12:43pm

    My question is, if you have exhausted all tiers of EUC, and had 2 weeks of extended benefits left, before the June 2nd phase out, and are currently out of money due to the fact that you have used up all benefits available to you and June 2nd was the cut off,when they pass this bill for extensions will I be even able to collect anymore benefits? The man at the unemployment office said that if congress approves more extended benefits than yes I will be. But I am just soo confused, stressed out and just ahhh! I don’t know what to do! Any input would be appreciated! Thanks!

  • Comm_reply
    njcoolchik 06/22/2010 4:58pm

    If you used up all the EUC – meaning all the Tiers and were on EXTENDED BENEFITS the Federal program with only two weeks left, then if this bill passes you would be paid the remainder of your EB allotment, just the two weeks left. If your state is one that is declared an emergency with a high rate, then you might be able to get the HUP EB. But you didn’t mention where you were from. It might be something to look into.

    After that, No. No additional monies will be paid out unless the government passes something entirely new and different to help alleviate the stress of the long term unemployed.

  • Comm_reply
    NEEDY 06/22/2010 6:20pm

    You are qualified for FED-ED anytime after you completed your last tier (4th-6 weeks) No deadline for filing for FED-ED which is 20 weeks for the states with over 8.5% unemployment rate (California, Michigan, Delaware, etc..)

  • Comm_reply
    jgpt777 06/22/2010 6:27pm

    NEEDY, YOU FORGOT TO MENTION, THAT THE LAST WEEK TO RECIEVE THE FED-ED WAS JUNE 12,2010 ( PLEASE CONFIRM THIS INFORMATION ON THE EDD SITE )
    LINK
    http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Federal_Unemployment_Insurance_Extensions.htm

    SO WHEN THE EXTENTSION BILL GOES THROUGH, HOPEFULLY THEY WILL EXTEND THAT DATE ALSO.

  • Comm_reply
    Rationalview 06/23/2010 3:45am

    I live in NJ which is well over the 8.5 rate and my rep told me that once we complete tier 4 we are through – there are no more through the state – so, how would we apply for this additional fed extension of 20 weeks?

  • Comm_reply
    jgpt777 06/23/2010 7:17am

    RATIONALVIEW, AS OF RIGHT NOW NO ONE IS RECEIVING THE FED ED, IT LAST PAYMENT WAS JUNE 12, 2010. IT ALL DEPENDS WHAT STATE YOUR IN, I KNOW CALIFORNIA HAS HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, SO SOME WERE RECEIVING IT FOR A WHILE.

    YOU CAN PROBABLY CHECK WITH YOUR REP. AFTER THE EXTENTSION IS PASSED AND YOU FINISH YOUR 4 TIERS, IN CALIFORNIA THEY SEND YOU NOTICE AUTOMATICAL IF YOU QUALIFY.

    I HOPE THIS INFORMATION HELPS.

  • njcoolchik 06/22/2010 12:48pm

    It is utterly ridiculous to pass a bill that creates the Tiers with clear-cut defined guidelines which were assured to the American People then purposely withhold funding for it. Just exhausted Tier 3 and the additional week back to Tier 2. According to the already established Tier 4 and EB benefits, I should be eligible for those benefits but can’t because the state ran out of money and the Federal Government won’t fund them for the programs they promised we would be able to take. In the meantime we are afraid we are going to wind up on the street after getting turned down for excessive forebearance from Bank of America. The HAMP program which was also supposed to help us too. The government creates these programs which are SUPPOSED to HELP PEOPLE which are nothing but mirrors and ruses. POLITICS as usual in Washington.

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.