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Unemployment Insurance Votes Possible in Both Chambers Wednesday

June 30, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

It’s going to be a big day in both chambers of Congress on the issue we’ve been tracking steadily on this blog for weeks — extending unemployment insurance benefits for the millions of unemployed individuals who have had their payments cut off since late May. Here’s what you need to know to follow today’s votes.

After failing on Tuesday to pass a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill under expedited rules, Democrats in the House have tentatively scheduled another vote on the bill for today, this time under normal rules that require only a simply majority of 217 votes to pass. Democrats had 261 votes for the bill yesterday, including the support of 30 Republicans (it didn’t pass because a 2/3rds majority was needed under the rules), so it should have no problems passing today under normal rules. The “rule” governing the debate of the bill that was approved by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday night limits the length of the debate and does not allow for any amendments.

The House bill (H.R. 5618) would extend the filing deadline for extended unemployment insurance benefits until Nov. 30, 2010. It would not create a new fifth tier of benefits for those who have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of benefit payments.

On the Senate side, Democrats Tuesday evening announced their fourth iteration of H.R. 4213, the awkwardly-named “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.” The latest version of the bill is severely trimmed back from what it was a month ago, but it’s still not a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill. In addition to extending the filing deadline for extended unemployment insurance until November 30, 2010, it would extend for three months the closing deadline for first-time homebuyers trying to get the $8,000 tax credit approved in the 2009 stimulus bill. The new version of the Senate bill also contains about $145 million in new revenue raisers, made up of changes to the Travel Promotion Act, recession of Defense funds, and allowing the IRS to disclose prisoners’ tax information to state prison officials.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has filed for cloture (a motion to break a filibuster that requires 60 votes to pass) on Tuesday night, setting up a vote on cloture for Thursday morning at the latest. Reid is hopeful that he can strike a deal with the Republicans to allow the cloture vote to take place this evening because the Senate is scheduled to spend Thursday morning honoring the life of recently-deceased Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV]. Reid has already “filled the tree,” a parliamentary maneuver that blocks anyone else from offering amendments to the bill.

At this moment, Democrats do not seem to have the 60 votes needed to pass cloture. WIth the passing of Sen. Byrd, they now hold 58 Senate seats. Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe [ME] last week sent a letter to Senate Democratic leaders asking for a vote on a stand-alone unemployment bill and is expected to join the Democrats on this vote. But her “yes” vote will only offset Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE], who is expected to vote “no” because the bill is not fully offset with new revenues. So, the Democrats still need two more Republican votes to pass cloture.

Sen. Johnny Isakson [R, GA] has been a main supporter of extending the closing date for the homebuyer tax credit. He even co-sponsored an amendment on it with Reid to a previous version of the bill. Putting the closing date extension in the bill is likely designed to attract Isakson’s support for the full package. But Isakson is up for re-election in November and, like the rest of the Republicans, likely doesn’t want to vote in favor of the $34 billion in new deficit spending for unemployment insurance benefits.

What happens if the Senate does figure out a way to pass its bill? In that case, we would be looking at two different bills — a standalone UI bill in the House and a unemployment/homebuyer tax credit/miscellaneous revenue-raisers bill in the Senate. As you know, both chambers have to pass the same exact version of a bill before it can be signed into law, so some other action to reconcile the two chambers’ differences will have to be taken. The most likely scenario if the Senate passes their bill is that they would just send it over to the House, which should have no problem finding a simple majority in favor to pass it. On Tuesday, the House passed a stand-alone version of the homebuyer tax create closing date extension by an overwhelming vote of 409-5, so clearly its addition to the UI bill only helps with Republican support.

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Comments

Displaying 61-90 of 97 total comments.

  • indimom2010 06/30/2010 6:38am

    I called my unemployment office in Indianapolis. The told me if it is passed it takes a couple of days to get it set up. So hopefully if it passes we could file this weekend. I sure hope so.

  • illucy 06/30/2010 7:03am

    Is there a schedule to show when this vote might be?

  • Ktula7 06/30/2010 7:08am

    The stress alone is killing me!! They just have to pass this today. By time they pass it, it still has to go to the president to be signed into law. Then we all have to refile our claims which will take another week or two. Please, please pass this bill!

  • Comm_reply
    downandout 06/30/2010 10:47am

    Check with your state about refiling the claims. I am in Texas and since I was already on Tier 1, ready to move to Tier II when cut off, I do not have to re-file. I just had to submit a payment request every 2 weeks and when (and if) Congress decides to let us not starve waiting, the state will automatically process the payment. Hopefully, it is the same in your state.

  • KASwann 06/30/2010 7:19am

    As one of the newer unemployed who just exhausted the 26 NORMAL weeks of UC benefits on May 29th I fell through the cracks and did not have any extensions.
    99’s should be thinking about relocation, new job skills or schooling if they can’t find a job in 99 weeks. Personally I know there are many who are working under the table and collecting benefits and this is totally wrong.
    Please pass this bill for the unemployed of 2009.

  • Comm_reply
    Rationalview 06/30/2010 10:24am

    Hopefully, you won’t become a 99er – check back with you in 73 very short weeks.

  • macpro 06/30/2010 7:19am

    This is not funny, it seems that congress is going to stall as long as they can so they can go on the 4th of July break and leave Millions of Americans hanging.

    This is not right when Congress knows that more job’s are not being made and America is loosing more job’s by the day because the unemployed are not spending any money now.

    I hope Congress can pass this or the whole United States will suffer not just the unemployed. I pray that this bill passes or to many States will go bankrupt and people will be homeless.

  • illucy 06/30/2010 7:20am

    How do you know what bills they’re voting on today? And is there any time listed?

  • lonnienyssa 06/30/2010 7:30am

    It is on next cspan 2 H.R. 4213 will be voted on next it is today’s pending business My fingers are crossed

  • LJinMo 06/30/2010 7:38am

    The “ALL POWERFUL” do not ‘HAVE TO’ pass anything (unless it benefits their own party or agenda). IT ISN’T THEIR LIVELYHOODS THAT ARE AT STAKE! It isn’t their home, their family, their sleepless nights or stressful days trying to find work. These things are not important to them! They will never suffer the shame or indignity of having to pawning their wedding ring just to put gas in their car in order to continue to look for a job! A sham and a shame!

  • Comm_reply
    lonnienyssa 06/30/2010 7:41am

    I understand the pawning thing I have pawned all TV’s in my home all but one. I have pawned game systems. My children hate me. They don’t understand why we are loosing our home of 10 years and having to move into a shelter next week. What do we tell them??? That because mommy can’t even work at McDonalds because they don’t need any more employees. We have to move. I iwll work anywhere do anything Legal of course please help

  • illucy 06/30/2010 7:40am

    HR 4213 is a jobs and tax bill.. not UI…

  • illucy 06/30/2010 7:42am

    HR 5618 is the bill to extend UI don’t know when that is today.

  • juju39567 06/30/2010 7:49am

    i just want to thank Donny Shaw for keeping us informed. For the last month ive been scratching by begging for food from churches my car has been repoed moved in with disabled parents and BEGGING FOR NEWS COVERAGE to follow this. If it wasnt for this site and Donny Shaw we the suffering would know absolutely nothing of the day to day happenings. Thank you again.

  • illucy 06/30/2010 7:52am

    Is there a schedule some where that says when a vote is scheduled to happen?

  • Comm_reply
    juju39567 06/30/2010 7:53am

    im watching c-span 1 and 2 i believe its all up to the majority speaker to bring it to the floor so there is no exact time for vote

  • Comm_reply
    illucy 06/30/2010 7:56am

    Thanks

  • lfrushone 06/30/2010 8:02am

    Like so many others who are affected by the Senate’s approach to the unemployment problem and their failure to pass a bill that would allow so many to keep a little light at the end of the tunnel. I live in Florida and have been told that should the bill pass I will have to fill out paperwork to reinstate my unemployment benefits, if it had already been passed there would have been no interruption in benefits. The Senators,who we elect make a tremendous salary courtesy of us, the American Taxpayer. Since the country is in a very bad economic time which is forcing corporate executives to take pay cuts, I can not figure out why CONGRESS IS NOT BEING FORCED TO TAKE A PAY CUT? Any one have an answer, I think they should as this bill was introduced by the House in December of 2009. I do not care about the politics, I believe both parties should work together for the good of the country an its citizens! What does everyone else think?

  • Comm_reply
    juju39567 06/30/2010 8:10am

    ifrushone i live in alabama now but am on the mississippi unemployment list due to losing job in mississippi ive been filing every week since my benefits ran out about a month ago and the mississippi ui agency told me as long as i keep filing every week that once it passes i will be back paid and not have to go thru reinstatment that is my understanding if it helps u any

  • Revolution 06/30/2010 8:08am

    Still arguing about non sense..and the Senator from SC (Republican) asking to recognize a College Baseball team….I cannot believe what I have been watching over the last couple of weeks. This is a circus and they continue to play games.

  • slomo8a1 06/30/2010 8:35am

    will this vote be on cspan 1,2,or 3?

  • Ktula7 06/30/2010 10:21am

    If this bill doesn’t pass today, it will break my spirit and faith in my Government. I have held onto faith and tried to stay positive this whole time. I have kept my chin up for my children who depend on this to pass and they don’t even know it. Please, please pass this bill! Our families depend on it!

  • overthrow2010 06/30/2010 10:40am

    Please visit GiveUsOurMoney(dot) org for the latest on this crisis. If this bill does not pass, there is a revolutionary 50 state protest on Friday.

    Please take a look.

  • pennylee 06/30/2010 10:45am

    Reading through these comments really opens our eyes. I have been praying continually and trusting God to come through within our government. He is the ultimate vote on this. This is a great website and I like many others find myself checking it many times a day. I appreciate Donny Shaw for keeping us all informed.

  • lonnienyssa 06/30/2010 11:20am

    Well that is the straw that broke the camel’s back my phone just got shut off so if any employer wants to call me for an interview they cannot. I have given up all hope. I am done I have no more faith left in our government.

  • slomo8a1 06/30/2010 11:31am

    have they voted yet

  • rosiegirl00 06/30/2010 1:27pm

    Something to think about. What happens to the people that run out of all 99 weeks? What if these people do not have work yet? And families with children? Extensions will only last for so long. Don’t mistake me for not wanting extensions, they are needed. I pray they start to create jobs. As long as taxes stay up there will be no relief. I forgot what it felt like to live, get a check from earning it and sleeping at night. Congress and Senate did get raises this year. Guess who flipped the bill? God help us all.

  • Comm_reply
    GABE1004 06/30/2010 2:08pm

    Hopefully a new retraining program and the economy starts to move. Have faith and a few more plans for making it.

    I try to remember hearing uncles and aunts and gean parents talk about the depression and hard times.

    I grew up in the field and picked cotton and vegetables when it was possible, but those jobs are still around but not in my area.

    GABE1004

  • buckbusterdouglas 06/30/2010 6:12pm

    Enough is enough, these senators that are voting against the unemployment bill are on a list that millions will see and come 5 months from now we will get our just due and vote these employees of the people out of office! YOUR FIRED cant wait to see them sign up for unemployment! Do these senators think we are that stupid that we will forget all this crap they are putting us through, I think not , what you did was just voted your dumbasses out of office!!!!!

  • buckbusterdouglas 06/30/2010 6:20pm

    Hey people, They work for us never forget that, we the people put them in office and we the people will take them out! They are digging their own holes every time they vote against the bill, cant wait to see them sign up for unemployment

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