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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.

Drewbot78 06/22/2010 11:47am

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

laidbackjt 06/22/2010 10:52am

Do it now. Do it today.

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!

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.

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.

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

jgpt777 06/22/2010 5:24pm

YOU NEED TO MOVE TO EUROPE SENATOR RAND PAUL FROM KENTUCKY…YOU JUST KEEP SCREWING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE BECAUSE OF THE RECESSION.

Some GOP candidates running for Congress have spoken out against the unemployment extensions.

On Friday, Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul said, “In Europe, they give about a year of unemployment. We’re up to two years in America.”

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.

jgpt777 06/22/2010 1:05pm
in reply to amomjl Jun 22, 2010 12:21pm

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

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?

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.

ladob1028 06/22/2010 12:48pm

Please look at the overall picture for those who have to vote on this and think of us the people who are hanging on your decision daily. I have no money and have drained all my resources. I didnt get my first extenstion and am so stressed out. I am trying so hard to get a job but I dont even have the gas to go on any interviews. I need my unemployment so please help us the American People who are depending on this. I cry daily because I have no money and cant even give my children anything extra. I am now worrying on food and utilities. I shouldnt have to live like this. I need help and have no where to turn.

Iamamerican33 06/22/2010 1:00pm

Two questions (1)“How much begging is needed?” (2)“How does it make you feel to hear your constituents beg?”

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

rbd1217 06/22/2010 11:57am
in reply to laidbackjt Jun 22, 2010 10:52am

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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..)

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.

fanman72 06/22/2010 6:29pm

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

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!

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

Spam Comment

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

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.

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?

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