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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.

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Comments

Displaying 1-30 of 57 total comments.

Chris51 07/10/2010 7:12am

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.

Chris51 07/08/2010 7:23pm
in reply to Chris51 Jul 08, 2010 7:22pm

GOP are determined to bloc everything the President is trying to do for the USA right now. He has a vested interest, and seems to take pride in doing the best job he can while in office.
We are in trouble as long as Republican politicians continue favoring their special interest.
How can any CEO or Owner of business get anything done if half of his managers or executives stand in his way just to be defiant.

President Obama speech on CSPAN today, while in Kansas City, MO to support a future candidate. Was right on.
If you are an unemployed American, and are thinking no one understands the difficulties of being jobless. Obama speech articulated the financial and emotional struggles well. Hat’s off to the President for saying what needed to be said.

http://cspan.org/Watch/Media/2010/07/08/HP/A/35248/Pres+Obama+Remarks+at+Fundraiser+for+Missouri+Senate+Candidate+Robin

Chris51 07/08/2010 7:22pm
in reply to Chris51 Jun 30, 2010 10:47pm

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

Chris51 07/03/2010 10:08pm

REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER ON UI EXT BILLS!
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
http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/02/news/economy/jobs_june/index.htm

Job gloom at all time high
http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/03/news/economy/discouraged_workers/index.htm

7.9 million jobs lost- many forever
http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/02/news/economy/jobs_gone_forever/index.htm

Jobless claims spike
http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/01/news/economy/jobless_claims/index.htm

Thousands at risk for losing unemployment benefits
http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/money/job_news/unemployment-benefits-jeopardy-6-28-2010

Chris51 07/01/2010 9:38am
in reply to Rationalview Jun 22, 2010 11:47am

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

Chris51 06/30/2010 10:47pm
in reply to Rationalview Jun 22, 2010 11:47am

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

dmpetrick 06/24/2010 7:33am
in reply to KASwann Jun 22, 2010 11:54am

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!

ssimms1980 06/23/2010 2:15pm

everyone, please go to change.org to sign a petition to seperate the unemployment from the rest of the bill

jhcm06 06/23/2010 8:00am
in reply to kattsue Jun 22, 2010 5:54pm

kattsue, I am with you, I only collected 26 weeks of UI, and was never able to apply for any teir of an extention, now what about people like us, this is so bs………….

jgpt777 06/23/2010 7:17am
in reply to Rationalview Jun 23, 2010 3:45am

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.

jgpt777 06/23/2010 6:59am
in reply to Rationalview Jun 23, 2010 3:42am

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.

Rationalview 06/23/2010 3:57am

Bears repeating – check your state and also the “M’s” – could have been our president. Alexander (R-TN),Barrasso (R-WY), Bayh (D-IN), Begich (D-AK),Bennett (R-UT),Bond (R-MO), Brown (R-MA),Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Bambliss (R-GA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Collins (R-ME),Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Feingold (D-WI), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Gregg (R-NH),Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johanns (R-NE), Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ), Landrieu (D-LA), LeMieux (R-FL), Lieberman (ID-CT), Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ), McCaskill (D-MO), McConnell (R-KY), Menendez (D-NJ)
Murkowski (R-AK), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR),Risch (R-ID)
Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Snowe (R-ME), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH), Webb (D-VA), Wicker (R-MS)

Rationalview 06/23/2010 3:50am

Here are the senators who voted against the extension – check your state and AZ.
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bayh (D-IN)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brown (R-MA)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feingold (D-WI)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
LeMieux (R-FL)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Risch (R-ID)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Snowe (R-ME)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Webb (D-VA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Rationalview 06/23/2010 3:45am
in reply to NEEDY Jun 22, 2010 6:20pm

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?

Rationalview 06/23/2010 3:42am
in reply to jgpt777 Jun 22, 2010 1:05pm

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

sldhouston 06/23/2010 3:32am

SIGN THIS PETITION TO PASS THE HR 4213 BILL AND TAKE OUR CONGRESS BACK! SCREW THEM SINCE THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US… PLS SIGN THIS AND MAKE SURE YOU PASS IT FORWARD.

http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/we_demand_an_immediate_passage_of_bill_hr_4213_extension_of_unemployment_benefits

Spam Comment

laidbackjt 06/22/2010 8:00pm

Enter President Obama. He can sign an executive order to extend unemployment benefits, ensuring that the almost a million people who have currently exhausted benefits can continue to receive their lifeline. SIGN THE ORDER!

http://business-and-finance-1357.blogspot.com/2010/06/2010-unemployment-extension-99ers.html

Sorry.I had to speak on this.This is completely RACIST.Blacks and Hispanics make up 35% of the 44% that are unemployed and looking for work. I have an Associates Degree and have been out of work for a year and a half. Each job interview I go on,I am told that they are looking for someone that hasn’t been out of work as long as I have. I have over 5 years of experience in surgery and consider it a slap in the face to get beaten out by a new grad with little or no experience. They are laying off police and cutting hours in Indiana.If no one has jobs and they are REFUSING to extend unemployment benefits, that will lead to TURMOIL in our city. People are losing their houses, break-ins are spiking because people are so desperate for small means to get by day to day that they are breaking in and robbing people left and right.I have been on unemployment about a year and have reached my breaking point.I have 2 kids and am facing homelessness each time these greedy, wealthy politicians do this!

fanman72 06/22/2010 6:29pm

Congress & Senate – do this, otherwise we’ll cut off your stream of income come November

jgpt777 06/22/2010 6:27pm
in reply to NEEDY Jun 22, 2010 6:20pm

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.

NEEDY 06/22/2010 6:20pm
in reply to amomjl Jun 22, 2010 12:43pm

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..)

NEEDY 06/22/2010 6:10pm

What Republicans are doing is unconscionable…and these people may be reelected to be in charge this year (again) after having created this economical catastrophe and huge deficit. My benefits are running out this month and I have no job prospect so far. Seeking for an empty park bench. Beyond that I am keeping tab of who is voting for what and will do everything within my power to ensure that those who are voting against this unemployment extension loose their jobs also on their next election.

jgpt777 06/22/2010 6:05pm
in reply to neilK Jun 22, 2010 5:30pm

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

kattsue 06/22/2010 5:54pm
in reply to neilK Jun 22, 2010 5:44pm

well i only collecting for 26 weeks and didnt even get 1 extension i,m hoping if this bill passes i will be able to get a extension since my benifits excausted. i,m a single mom with one on the way and really scared how i,m gonna pay my bills.

tiredofbeingtired 06/22/2010 5:52pm

The time for change has come and gone…i tell u the truth…this is so frustrating that it makes you just want to scream at the top of your lungs, “WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH CONGRESS”!!

neilK 06/22/2010 5:45pm

this week so that we all can get some financial relief beginning next week.

neilK 06/22/2010 5:44pm

They are sending Haiti more money? You gotta be frigging kidding me!!! What a slap if the f…ing face! The politicians I tell you if I speak my mind I may have the Secret Service at my door. This is getting way out of control. Face it people we don’t mean sh.. to anyone in Washington. They only suck up and pretend to care when they need $$$ for their campaigns and they want us to pull the lever next to their names. Screw them fake asses!!! It would never happen but I would love to see no one go and vote and empty Washington out. Maybe then we could keep our money here and use it on our own people instead of everyone else. I have thought about maybe somehow getting with other unemployed struggling and begging for help Americans to see if we could organize a March on Washington. Why can’t we? Every other cause seems to be successful at doing it and we are defintely a worthy cause. Any ideas on organizing a March or am I not being rationale? I pray the Senate passes this bill finally

neilK 06/22/2010 5:30pm
in reply to jgpt777 Jun 22, 2010 1:05pm

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?

jgpt777 06/22/2010 5:28pm

Well just heard today the USA is gonna give haiti 2 billion more dollars on top of all the other money we have already given. To top that off , the haitians are getting nothing done anyway. Now why dont we use that 2 billion for tax paying americans that are unemployed. Its a real head scratcher huh?

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