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GOP Blocks Unemployment Insurance Bill, Senate Leaves for July 4th Recess

June 30, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

For the fourth time in a month, Senate Democrats on Wednesday night failed to win enough votes to overcome a Republican filibuster of a bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits (H.R. 4213). After the failed vote, the Senate adjourned for recess until July 12th.

“It is beyond disappointing that Republicans continue to stand almost lockstep against assistance for out-of-work Americans – especially since many of these same Republicans spent months protecting Wall Street and preserving tax cuts for CEOs who ship American jobs overseas,” Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] said after the vote.

The final tally was 58-38. 60 votes were needed under Senate rules to pass the motion on breaking the filibuster known as “cloture”. Majority Leader Reid voted “no” on the bill in order to preserve his right under Senate rules to bring the bill up again in the future for another vote, so the Democrats were actually just one vote shy of passing the motion. Republicans Sen. Susan Collins [ME] and Sen. Olympia Snowe [ME] voted with Democrats in favor of the bill. Conservative Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans agains it.

Sen. George Voinovich [R, OH] said after the vote that he would have provided the one vote Democrats needed to pass the cloture motion if some of it was paid for with money from the stimulus bill. “In order to move forward, yesterday I told Leader Reid that I would support extending unemployment insurance if Democrats would be willing to use some of the estimated $40 billion in unspent stimulus monies to help offset at least half of the stand-alone unemployment insurance extension," Voinovich said. “He flatly rejected this request even though Democratic Leadership was going to take $10 billion from the stimulus to help pay for business tax breaks just last week.”

After the vote, Reid said that the Senate will not vote on the bill again until a replacement for recently-deceased Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV] is seated in the Senate. West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D) is in charge of appointing a replacement and he will likely do so over the July 4th recess.

By the time the Senate reconvenes on July 12, data from the Labor Department suggests that more than 2 million unemployed Americans will see their unemployment insurance benefits cut off due to the Republicans’ objections to the extension bill. Benefits began expiring for people on June 1st when the last extension of the benefits expired. Before then, unemployed individual were eligible for up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits under an extended, four-tier federal program created by the 2009 stimulus bill. Now that the federal program has been allowed to expire, newly unemployed individuals are eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks of state-provided benefits.

Still, people who have had their benefits cut off in the past month should expect to become eligible once again for the full 99 weeks and to have their lost benefits paid back to them retroactively. Wednesday’s vote makes it clear that as soon as a replacement for Byrd is seated in the Senate, the Democrats will have the 60 votes they need to overcome Republican opposition and pass the bill.

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Comments

Displaying 121-150 of 185 total comments.

  • lisajoy2675 07/01/2010 6:27am

    And honestly, I could really care less who owns fault in this anymore…it’s the democrats, no it’s the republicans. These men and women are so busy pointing the finger at one another that they have completely lost sight of the fact that they are supposed to be working FOR the people and they just let a good portion of those people down. Thankfully, I have only myself to worry about…which doesn’t excuse being let down, however, these morons just let families down…people with children who need roofs over their head and food in their bellies. Am I worried for myself? Of course. But I’m more worried for the parent who now has to try to figure this mess out in order to feed their child. Happy Independence Day! And that’s exactly what it is…Independence Day, because we’re all on our own in this mess.

  • MrHappy 07/01/2010 6:37am

    The sad/funny thing is, that due to Social Security Benefits, Life Insurance and Military Death Benefits, I am worth more dead than alive right now to my family.

  • CJKell 07/01/2010 6:49am

    so even if this extension would pass there would be no help for the 99er right? i wonder how many 99er there are now.

  • MrHappy 07/01/2010 6:59am

    http://washingtonindependent.com/90773/harkin-hopeful-unemployment-benefits-extension-will-pass-tonight

    WTF?

    Is Harkin stoned?

  • Jannette 07/01/2010 7:01am

    OK, I don’t mean to be flip or stupid, but do you need an address to vote?

  • Comm_reply
    MrHappy 07/01/2010 7:03am

    No, and not a stupid question.

  • Comm_reply
    MrHappy 07/01/2010 7:04am

    No, and not a stupid question.

    In some cities you don’t even need to be breathing to vote.

  • alphadog01 07/01/2010 7:05am

    One thing we need to do is to vote out EVERY incumbent in the senate in November. The Republicans because of their stupidity in thinking it is okay to hang 15 million unemployed voters to twist in the wind, and The Democrats because of their B*llsh*t games. I mean the way they tack on all of their crap that doesn’t have a prayer of passing on to a must pass bill like the unemployment extension. Do the Dems really think that we are so stupid that we don’t see right through their games? BOTH parties are to blame and there should be a historic shakeup in Washington this November.

  • Jannette 07/01/2010 7:09am

    Thank you for your answer, MrHappy. I hope you are right regarding an address not being a requirement to vote, because I was reading the comments from those who will lose their homes, and feared that they would then have even less recourse and voice as their plight worsens. How desperate must this situation become?

  • Ktula7 07/01/2010 7:16am

    Well, the person that said that us just sitting here complaining to each other isn’t getting us anywhere. We’ve been doing this for weeks. I have written to my senators and got an email back stating that they can’t answer due to the thousands of emails that they get. I have called the White House and was on hold for an hour. I haven’t gotten one response back from any of them. They don’t care! If you want to be heard, find out where they live. That seems to be the only way that you will get their attention! Otherwise, forget it. They aren’t hearing you. If they did, they would have passed the bill already!

  • jgpt777 07/01/2010 7:17am

    I BELIEVE IN KARMA…..IT IS A BIG PART OF THE CIRCLE OF LIFE………..

    THE REPUBLICANS MADE A BAD KARMA DECISSION TO BLOCK EXTENDING ASSISTANCE TO MILLIONS OF AMERICAN PEOPLE IN NEED,

    IT WAS A EVIL DECISSION……..

    ALL SENATORS PLEASE MAKE NOTE OF YOUR EVIL ACT, AND DON’T BE SURPRISED WHEN YOUR LIVES START FALLING APART………………………………………

  • illucy 07/01/2010 7:19am

    Did you all see this from Harry Reid http://reid.senate.gov/

  • Jannette 07/01/2010 7:20am

    I think flying the flag upside down and notifying the media of “the movement” might be another approach. Many times holiday news is less news and more human interest events.

  • Comm_reply
    faith2405 07/01/2010 7:30am

    This is a great idea, but so is e-mailing every senator that voted NAY to HR421 extending unemployment benefits, going to change.org and signing every petition re: this bill, also contacting all the tv evangelist and zealots that speak out on every topic except this one such as Rev. Al Sharpton. Be HEARD!! Join the March on July 2 in your town!!!

  • lilray 07/01/2010 7:25am

    CAN EVERYONE SEND THE OLD BAG VIRGINIA FOXX FROM NORTH CAROLINA AN EMAIL. SHE IS KILLING THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION. SHE IS A HORRIBLE OLD PERSON. I HATE HER!!!!! GOD PLEASE GIVE ME STRENGTH THAT I DONT LOSE MY MIND

  • lilray 07/01/2010 7:28am

    TURN TO CSPAN NOW…. ANOTHER VOTE IS HAPPENING NOW TO RESTORE JOBLESS BENEFITS.

  • Ktula7 07/01/2010 7:31am

    Senator Reid, thank you for taking notice that we are still here and that we are struggling like never before. Thank you for listening to those like us who cannot make it in this economy without some kind of help. We are not getting rich on unemployment and for every one job there are tens to hundreds or resumes from people waiting for that same job. We are in dire straights and need help. So, Senator Reid, thank you for getting it!

  • jgpt777 07/01/2010 7:31am

    it was Robert Byrd’s death that made the difference, and for all the vaunted courtesies of the upper chamber, not one Republican felt honor-bound to ensure that their friend’s passage didn’t mean that his voice, and the role it would have played in the final vote, was totally ignored.
    It was Robert Byrd’s death that made the difference, and for all the vaunted courtesies of the upper chamber, not one Republican felt honor-bound to ensure that their friend’s passage didn’t mean that his voice, and the role it would have played in the final vote, was totally ignored.

  • Comm_reply
    lilray 07/01/2010 7:43am

    NO IT WASN’T HIS DEATH, BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN SHUTTING US DOWN WAY BEFORE THIS MAN DIED.

  • SBarnes 07/01/2010 7:31am

    NOTE TO ALL: Please go to Whithouse.gov and let the President know by email to either call Congress back into emergency session to pass the unemployment extension before July 4th or he will sign an Emergency Executive Order to reinstate unemployment retroactively until they can get their act together! Just choose Contact Us in the top right hand corner of the home page. I sent him a long email to this effect and also told him to not send me any more emails for support on any other issues until unemployment is reinstated. I am a supporter of the President, but he needs to step in for the out-of-work American people! If the White House gets enough of these emails it may work!

  • dwcstmdznr 07/01/2010 7:35am

    I spoke to my senators offices this mornin and told them that I think it is unconscienceable for them to take a 2 week vacation right now. The girl I spoke to says that they all expect the vote to stop the filibuster to pass when Senator Byrds replacement is named after the holiday. Senator Byrds office told me that the Gov of WV is expected to name his replacement over the 4th. Then I spoke to my rep in the House. They say that the problem has been the senate and when the bill gets back to them it should pass without a hitch, then it’s on to Obama. Keep your fingers crossed

  • LMckinzie 07/01/2010 7:37am

    Miriam Webster definition of Independent:

    1 : not dependent: as a (1) : not subject to control by others : self-governing

    Happy Independence day Congress…..apparently you ARE Independent from the opinions of the PEOPLE who put you in those seats to speak on our behalf. Republican…Democrat….none of that matters…You all are Hired by US, the people, to represent us…so do your job OR MAYBE one day you may find yourselves in the same UnEmployment Line along side all of us….begging and pleading for Your Government to hear your cries only to realize that you don’t matter to them. So eat your BBQ, watch your fancy Fireworks show, spend time with your family and be Proud that you left session to go on your holiday without completing your job….if you get bored on your Holiday come on over to my house because we will definitely be home…..well at least until the mortgage company comes over to kick us OUT!!!

  • BrandiWY 07/01/2010 7:42am

    The House is voting on UI right now. Will this do anything to help us?

  • genner 07/01/2010 7:43am

    WHO pays their SALARY & VACATIONSSS’??? That’s right WORKING AMERICANS! PAY BACK TIME!!!

  • Ktula7 07/01/2010 7:44am

    BrandiWY, the house is voting?

  • nikmas 07/01/2010 7:46am

    I never was much into politics until now. I have been undecided my whole life of which side of the aisle to support. Well, I definately will vote for democrats and vote no for republicans. I have two kids that I can not feed because the republicans would not extend the unemployment insurance. The benfits are not much, but they feed my children. It really makes me upset to hear the republicans say that the unemployed are lazy and that we do not want to work. I want to work really bad, but I can not find a job. The little bit of money I was recieving through unemployment insurance to provide for my children is gone.This will be the worst 4th of July ever. I pray for the familys that are in the same spot that I am in. I hope the senate will get this passed ASAP. I hope we can all get back to work soon and that the senate will give us a little bit of temporary relief until then.

  • stevedtat 07/01/2010 7:54am

    This has been the most grimmest situation I have ever been in. I am a junior in college, and my unemployment was what I supported 3 kids on! Now july 2nd the bank is taking my house, putting all of us on the streets! What the HELL is congress trying to pull? While they are having their nice $10,000 dinner, we will be scrounging up 39 cents for a can of soup! Congress you suck. They have no idea what its like to be dirt poor, nor will they ever. They have full retirements, while people like me had to cash in their 401Ks just to make one last house payment! I think they should surrender just one of their paychecks to pay to help the people that put them there. No gratitude for any living being on this planet! what have we reduced ourselves to? we are in the worst crisis of our country, and our government is dragging their feet to fix it.Obama is trying, but he can’t do anything because congress has a vendetta against him and the american public! thanks for everything

  • jenny2010 07/01/2010 8:16am

    I’m so sick of the GOP saying they can’t help the unemployed because the Nation is in too much debt already! What are they thinking??? WE NEED HELP. THIS IS TURNING INTO A NATIONAL EMERGENCY.

  • honeyfire 07/01/2010 8:18am

    Congress said
    America America not help for you there be
    we crown you good with more falsehoods from sea to oily sea

  • Comm_reply
    NewOakie 07/01/2010 8:26am

    What’s the last resort?

    Living in a new Hooverville?

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