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.


Displaying 31-57 of 57 total comments.

  • 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?”

  • DBM 06/22/2010 1:27pm

    Please Please Please hurry and pass!!! This is a horrible situation for so many families, mine being one of them.

  • Comm_reply
    mblind99 06/22/2010 2:32pm

    I encourage everybody to write/E-mail their Senators and urge them to pass this bill. Also write Republican Senators from states that have moderate records(ie. Senator Snowe and Collins from Maine). I’ve sent letters to Senators from other states that voted no but have high unemployment rates. ie. Fl unemployment rate is 11.7% but Senator LeMieux® voted no. Ohio unemployment rate is 10.7% but Senator Voinovich® voted no?

    Here is a website for contacting Senators from any of the states:

    Go to the box marked “participate” and type in your zip code. It’ll bring you to the next page with your senators names. Fill in the blank boxes with name, address, etc. and hit next. This brings up a pre-typed letter. You can send that or I suggest writing a more personal letter of your own and let them know a no vote for this is a no vote for them next election.

  • HGAH_7 06/22/2010 2:53pm

    The Senate and the House is a big show. They are all actors. They put on a big show in front of the cameras but, behind closed doors they are slapping backs, playing golf together and only who knows what else. These guys are intentionally trying to sink this economy. Yes folks, they are doing this on purpose. Please believe me when I tell you this so called “Recession” is not by accident. They all are puppets that are being controlled to bring about the New World Order. In order for it to happen the gap between the “Haves” and the “Have nots” have to be at an all time high. And they have to destroy the value of the Dollar. If you were to go to a foreign country they would laugh you to scorn if you gave them American money. When the money is worthless then comes the Amero. Ya’ll please don’t get me started. All I’m saying is, Michael Jackson said it best, “They don’t really care about us.” Listen to this song and draw inspiration. One Love:

  • dirtdogn 06/22/2010 2:58pm

    im in construction which has been hit so hard here in many of my friends and relitives are in the same line of work which is all we now. im tired of watching them lose there houses and lively hood and now this. are you kiding me. talk about kicking someone when there down. we struggle and stress while they bicker like school kids and we suffer in the mean time. unempolyment bennefits are what is keeping a roof,food in stomachs, and the lights on for so many people. im sorry but im loseing hope in this country

  • mblind99 06/22/2010 3:03pm

    Here are a few other Senators you may want to target by sending them letters.
    Senator lieberman is an Independant but voted no. Senator Byrd from WV abstained from voting and he is a Democrat, former Senate leader of the Democratic party, and longest serving senator in history. Senator Byrd has been president pro tempore since 2007 yet the record shows he didn’t vote on HR4213? Also Ben Nelson of Nebraska is a Democrat and voted no. I read again Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of ME are moderates and Democrats think they may be able to convince one or both of them to vote for a paired down version of this bill? hey it can’t hurt to write an E-mail/letter.

    We are all trying our best to find jobs but they just aren’t out there. This jobless recovery is a joke. A jobless recovery is a recovery for Wall street, not main street. Lets see where these people’s hearts and minds really are by their vote. Good luck to ous all.

  • JParvin07 06/22/2010 3:19pm

    Ok am I the only person here who, whenI talk to other people who HAVE NOT lost their benifits get this “oh that is impossible” or the “well you are hae to get your money”!!! I am so sick of other people who are not in the same shoes telling me & others in my famiy the same thing. This is not on tv or in the news papers so my family thinks I am nuts! I am not knocking th eones who got to stay on UE but I wish they would keep their damn mouth shut, I dont need the added stress!! GRRR..Sorry, just needed to vent! :0)

  • juju39567 06/22/2010 5:16pm

    3rd week of no unemployment money so hungry went to church in town and graceously accepted donuts that expired on the 16th, some kind of self heated food in a box, and powdered milk. never thought id miss ramon noodles. watched the senate on cspan-2 to figure out what is the hold up and am now more confused and upset than before. all i can think when i look at them saying “i object” is i bet they have real milk in thier fridge. if the news were talking about this more something would of already been done about it. did they put a hush request to the media??????

  • jgpt777 06/22/2010 5:24pm


    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.”

  • 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?

  • 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

  • Comm_reply
    kattsue 06/22/2010 5:54pm

    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.

  • Comm_reply
    jhcm06 06/23/2010 8:00am

    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………….

  • neilK 06/22/2010 5:45pm

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

  • 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”!!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Spam Comment

  • sldhouston 06/23/2010 3:32am


  • 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 3:57am

    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)

  • ssimms1980 06/23/2010 2:15pm

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

  • Chris51 07/03/2010 10:08pm

    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 7:12am

    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.

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