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GOP Blocks Unemployment Insurance Bill Once Again, Dems Giving Up

June 24, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Despite shaving another $22 billion off the price tag of H.R. 4213, the unemployment insurance, jobs and tax extenders bill, the Democrats this afternoon failed for the third time in three weeks to defeat a Republican filibuster. As a result, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] is giving up and moving onto other legislative matters. “We can’t pass it until we get some Republicans… It’s up to them,” Reid said.

All Republicans plus Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] voted “no” today on a “cloture motion” to end a Republican filibuster and move forward on debate of the bill. Cloture motions require 60 votes to be approved under Senate rules. That means that Republicans were able to sink the bill despite having only 41 votes today in the 100-seat Senate.

Congressional inaction on the bill has led to more than a million unemployed people losing their unemployment insurance benefits since the late extension was allowed to expire on June 2. With unemployment stuck at around 9% nationally, millions more are set to lose this critical lifeline in the coming weeks and months if Congress does not act. You can read the stories of some of the people who have lost their jobs as a result of the financial crisis and are seeing their benefits expire at the National Employment Law Project website.

Earlier today, Sen. Debbie Stabenow [D, MI] told bloggers on a conference call that she believes Republicans are opposing the bill because they “want the economy to fail” because they will likely do better in November the worse the economy gets. The more conventional explanation for the Republicans’ lock-step opposition is that they fear the political reperecussions of voting in favor of any legislation that would add to the deficit this close to the mid-term elections.

The one glimmer of good news for unemployed folks in all this is that Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME], one of the key swing votes, said on the Senate floor today that she would vote in favor of a stand-alone unemployment benefits extension bill, even if it has no cost offsets. But even with Snowe’s support, Democrats might still be one vote short on a stand-alone, not-offset bill. Democrat Ben Nelson [NE] said after the second time the Senate rejected cloture on the bill because parts of it weren’t paid for. “I want to see it all offset,” he said.

QUICK UPDATE: I’m seeing a lot of questions on Facebook and Twitter about why they Democrats haven’t already tried splitting off the unemployment insurance section into a stand-alone bill. Here’s what I wrote on June 18, the last time the Republicans blocked the bill:

The reason the Dems don’t split off pieces of the bill — say, the unemployment benefits section — and try to pass them separately with a full debate is that it would give Republicans an opportunity to stall all Senate action for a week or longer. The Republicans may not necessarily oppose the unemployment benefits extension or the doc fix, but they will filibuster and force an extended debate in order to eat up precious Senate time that the Democrats want to use for other things this session, like energy legislation, responding to Citizens United, and immigration reform. Sen. Tom Coburn’s [R, OK] move yesterday to employ the “clay pigeon” procedure and force votes on dozens of contentious amendments illustrates the kind of tools Republicans could use on each piece of this bill if the Dems tried splitting it up.

The Republicans in the Senate have repeatedly drawn out the debate on stand-alone unemployment insurance extension votes this session even when they were not actually opposed to them. For example, in October, the Republicans held blocked it for five weeks, despite letting it pass in the end on a unanimous 98-0 vote.

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Displaying 1-30 of 174 total comments.

  • tiredofbeingtired 06/24/2010 2:13pm

    We have had enough!

  • Comm_reply
    rosiegirl00 06/24/2010 2:59pm

    I’m pretty fed up too as many Americans. I had one more extension left according to EDD and now I don’t get it. What am I gonna do? Apparently there is a Fed Ed that comes after the 4th extension, but they say that California doesn’t qualify for it because we are not at a 12% unemployment rate. What the hell are they talking about? We are over 12%. I bet that the state is using that money for something else and Republicans won’t pass the bill to extend this because of “pork” in the bill that shouldn’t be in there. Whatever the reason we are screwed. And don’t try to get a city, state or fed job. They make you go through so much and want certain types of people, people like them. What I want to know is what do they think we are to do if there is no work?

  • Comm_reply
    rheikaus 06/28/2010 4:18am

    Re: “What am I gonna do?”
    A: Get a job. While I understand and empathize with your plight, the gravy train MUST end at some point. Unemployment benefits have been extended several times already for a grand total of almost two years. Do you realize what an enormous financial burden this is? At some point this money must be paid back, just like a mortgage or a car payment. Every penny you receive now must be paid back by your children and grandchildren.

    In what way will extending unemployment benefits get us out of this economic malaise?

  • Comm_reply
    rosiegirl00 06/25/2010 12:18am

    Before I forget, anyone that is in need, look into grants. I am. Maybe that is a way to get help. Just a suggestion, not that I have done it. I’m investigating it too. If anyone has information please share.

  • Comm_reply
    aladdinsane34 06/25/2010 6:51am

    Everyone in Nebraska needs to call, write or email their so called Democratic senator Ben Nelson and tell him to do the right thing. In fact everyone should contact Ben Nelson!

  • Comm_reply
    deniinge 06/25/2010 8:04am

    I just called Senator Ben Nelson’s office and his assistant try to explain the justification behind his vote; which is BS to me.



  • Comm_reply
    DrPhil2 06/26/2010 12:42pm

    I see where the head Democrat (Reid) is blaming the Repubs for failing to pass HR4213 and extend the Unemployment Benefits payments.
    Really? Since when did the Repubs gain control of the Houses?
    The Democrats have and needed 60 votes out of 100 votes to pass this HR4213. The Repubs only have 40 votes. How could THEY be blamed on this HR not passing when they are in the minority?
    Truth? One Democrat voted no, along with all the Repubs, giving the Repubs a winning majority of 41 votes. It SEEMS like the Repubs killed the HR, and thus look bad to all the unemployed voters come November.
    In reality, it was the Democrats who killed this HR.

  • Comm_reply
    NV89015 06/27/2010 8:58am

    The Republicans gained control of the Senate when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s seat. The Republicans have 41 seats in the Senate, Democrats have 57, and there are 2 Independents (who usually vote with the Democrats). Total = 59 votes. At least one Republican must vote with the Democrats to break a filibuster. Without 60 votes for cloture, the bill never gets to a floor vote, where a 51 vote majority rules.
    I believe the Republican “strategy of no” is based upon two premises: (1) if the economy improves, the Democrats will benefit in the November elections (not that they won’t lose seats in Congress but in an improving economy, the thinking is Dems will lose fewer seats); and (2), it is to (mainstream) Republican disadvantage to vote in favor of any legislation that increases the deficit as that makes them targets of the Tea Party.
    It’s all about getting gaining a majority in either or both houses of Congress in the November elections.

  • Comm_reply
    rottenbird125 06/28/2010 6:20am

    Thank you for taking the time to make your post. I get tired of the lies people try to spread. There is no true majority of either party.

  • Comm_reply
    NevadaMod 06/29/2010 11:46am

    This is the real deal, and it is a sick sad day that people are suffering because of it. This is the best explaination of just how shallow it has gotten. Here in Nevada, you should see the Tea Bagger that was elected in the primary to run against Harry Reid, what a peice of work she is, she can barely speak and when she does I have visions of “I’m a Maverick” run through my head. The Tea Baggers have done a wonderful thing for Harry Reid, I haven’t talked with anyone who is happy with Sharron Angle on either side, I am sure there are a few, after all someone voted for her.

  • Comm_reply
    rottenbird125 06/28/2010 6:19am

    The REPUBLICAN Party Sucks. Do your math. Stop spreading this lie.

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

    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 a 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.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/08/2010 7:14pm

    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:

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/08/2010 7:15pm

    GOP are determined to block 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.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 7:00am

    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.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/11/2010 6:30am

    Oil & Gas Industry, history of strong influence in Washington. Individuals and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies have donated $238.7 MILLION to candidates and parties since the 1990 (Bush Senior term) election cycle, 75% of which has gone to REPUBLICANS…
    Former oilmen George W. Bush and Dick Cheney occupied the White House for 8 yrs, the oil and gas industry could not win support for repealing bans on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, Congress voted in 2008 to lift a ban on offshore drilling… Read full story:

    Drilling bans were lifted during Bush’s last months in WhiteHouse in 2008. The After consumers & transportation industry & economy felt the pain of $1-$2 price hikes of gas, during Summer 2007. It was “the straw that broke the Camel’s backs”, PUTTING USA/AMERICANS INTO TAIL SPIN.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/11/2010 6:31am

    Top 5 Contributions from Oil&Gas Industry 2009-2010:
    1 Koch Industries $724,300 14% Dems, 86%Repubs
    2 Exxon Mobil $548,214 13% Dems, 87% Repubs
    3 Chevron Corp $516,891 18% Dems, 82% Repubs
    4 Valero Energy $467,000 17% Dems, 83% Repubs
    5 Marathon Oil $378,190 23% Dems, 76% Repubs

    Tea Party Movement benefits from millions of dollars from conservative foundations that are derived from wealthy U.S. families and their business interests. Money flowing primarily through two conservative groups: Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. FreedomWorks receives substantial funding from David Koch of Koch Industries, the largest privately-held energy company in the country, which make substantial annual donations to conservative org…

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/11/2010 6:31am

    Letter was written to Senators:
    On behalf of hundreds of thousands of FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to carefully consider all aspects of H.R. 4213…

    If the bill comes to a vote as currently formulated, we encourage you to vote NO, and will track the vote on our Economic Scorecard….

    Signed FreedomWorks President and CEO
    (FreedomWorks funds Tea Party ;)

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/11/2010 6:32am

    Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle:
    If you’ve been following the ongoing Senate campaign of Nevada hopeful Sharron Angle, you know that she’s sick and tired of the long-term unemployed taking home all of those cushy unemployment benefits. Angle’s angle is that these millions of Americans are just living large on the dole and need to have their unemployment benefits terminated so that they will be motivated to go out and get a job — one of the millions of magical jobs that exist in Sharron Angle’s mind!

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/11/2010 6:32am

    Republicans only care about one thing, their own job preservation. Reps are working hard to win November’s election with the help of Tea Party Movement (FreedomWorks) and their BIG CONTRIBUTIONS FROM SPECIAL INTEREST.

    Oil&Gas Industry Contribution 2009-2010
    Koch Industries $724,300 14% Dems, 86% Repubs

    Kosh has made big contributions to FreedomWorks, a non-profit that funds Tea Party. These 2 organizations are putting a great deal of pressure on Senators to not support UI Ext. with stimulus that require corporations to help pay back through taxes.

    Most big CORPORATIONS have made RECORD PROFITS this year by cutting jobs long-term. They started layoffs in 2007, and putting millions of Americans on unemployment.

    They created the business mantra of “DO MORE, WITH LESS”, causing today’s workforce to do more job responsibilities with no more pay. 55% American workforce are working reduced hours, reduction in pay, leave without pay, forced to take part-time to keep job.

  • jourdanzion 06/24/2010 2:23pm

    People were led to believe that everyone would get the tier extensions congress sent a message loud and clear that is not the case. The senate has no appetite to contine putting the unemployed on assistance from the federal government without the bill being paid for. I just want the senate to tell people whst are they suppose to do 26 weeks completed cannotmove into tier 1 and so forth and 99ers have no relief and no job and if you are lucky enough to still be collecting good luck hope you find a job and soon.

  • wes00 06/24/2010 2:24pm

    WOWWWW…this is so unbelievable. I cant believe this!

  • XvxRAINxvX 06/24/2010 2:37pm

    I am literally crying right now i have no clue what im going to do. I cannot believe that they picked wealth over the american people that are starving and cannot find work. Can Obama not issue executive order or something on this please answer Mr.Shaw

  • Comm_reply
    JoshR 06/24/2010 2:57pm

    Until the 1950s, there were no rules or guidelines outlining what the president could or could not do through an Executive Order. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 US 579 (1952) that Executive Order 10340 from President Harry S. Truman placing all steel mills in the country under federal control was invalid because it attempted to make law, rather than clarify or act to further a law put forth by the Congress or the Constitution.

  • Comm_reply
    nmeagent 06/24/2010 9:33pm

    “Until the 1950s, there were no rules or guidelines outlining what the president could or could not do through an Executive Order.”

    Nonsense. The president only has the powers given to the executive branch in the Constitution.

  • GABE1004 06/24/2010 2:49pm

    I am wondering what the Republicans have up there sleeves, WE who pay there salaries and more will remember this come election times ahead. I am wondering what they have sacrificed for this country, no where near what each of us have.


  • Comm_reply
    rosiegirl00 06/24/2010 3:01pm

    By the way, you do know that Congress and the Senate did get raises this year!

  • Comm_reply
    rheikaus 06/28/2010 4:21am

    Rosie – Absolutely correct, and deplorable. Just remember that Democrats have been in charge of Congress since 2006.

    2006 also, interestingly, precedes the financial collapse by 2 years…


  • Comm_reply
    4gottenAmerican 06/24/2010 3:43pm


  • XvxRAINxvX 06/24/2010 2:59pm

    They want the rich to continue getting richer and for the poor people to just starve why do they care about us? As long as were not in their face about it they dont care. Alot of people dont realize how important this bill really was for the american people. It makes the super rich have to pay more taxes and helps small businesses by cutting theirs to help stimulate job growth. See this is an old saying and the rich keep getting richer. And sadly they are breaking our economy

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