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What's Next for the Unemployment Extension Bill

July 8, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Congress reconvenes from their July 4th recess on Monday and one of their first orders of business will be extending unemployment insurance benefits for the more than 2 million Americans who have had their benefits cut off over the past month due to congressional inaction. Here’s a step-by-step rundown of what to watch for over the next several days as the pieces fall into place for getting the extension out of the Senate and signed into law so that millions of unemployed workers can finally get some relief.

Interim Senator Appointed — Now that the West Virginia Attorney General has issued his ruling on when the next election to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV] should take place, Governor Joe Manchin can pick an interim senator to fill Byrd’s seat in the meantime (see his shortlist). Manchin has been getting pressure from national Democrats to appoint an interim replacement as soon as possible, so we can expect an announcement on his decision soon, possibly even later today. (UPDATE: Manchin today said he would wait until after a special session of the West Virginia state legislature clarifies the law in regards to the next election to fill Byrd’s seat before he appoints an interim replacement.) The speed with which the attorney general issued his ruling on the election issue is a sign that that Gov. Manchin plans on satisfying the request from Washington to act quickly.

Interim Senator Sworn In — Byrd’s interim replacement will be sworn into the Senate relatively quickly. When Sen. Edward Kennedy [D, MA] passed away last year, it on took about 48 hours for his interim replacement, Paul Kirk, to be be sworn into the Senate after being tapped for the job by the Massachusetts Governor. If Governor Manchin picks a replacement for Byrd in the next couple days, there should be no problem getting them to D.C. by the time the Senate is scheduled to reconvene (Monday at 2 p.m.) for a swearing-in ceremony.

Filing for Cloture on Proceeding to the Bill — The Senate will most likely move forward with the version of the unemploymemty insurance bill that was passed by the House last week, H.R. 5618. That way, they won’t have to bounce the bill back to the House again before it can become law. The first step here will be for Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] to file for cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill. This will allow the Democrats to take a vote on overcoming the Republicans’ objections to even bringing the bill to the floor for debate.

Invoking Cloture on Proceeding to the Bill — One hour after the Senate convenes on the second day after the cloture motino was filed, the motion will be “ripe” and the Senate will vote on whether or not to debate the bill despite Republican opposition. If Reid files the cloture motion on Monday, the cloture vote will happen on Wednesday morning. If he delays filing until Tuesday for whatever reason, the vote would be pushed back to Thursday. When the vote takes place, it will require 60 senators voting in the affirmative for it to pass. With Byrd’s interim replacement voting, the Democrats are expected to have exactly 60 votes for this. Debate of the actual bill will then begin.

Invoking Cloture on the Bill Itself — Right after cloture is invoked on the motion to proceed, Reid will file for cloture on the bill itself. This will be a motion to end an inevitable Republican filibuster of the bill and bring it to a vote on final passage. Like the last cloture motion, this will be ripe and ready for a vote one hour after the Senate convenes on the second day after it was filed. That means we’re looking at a Friday vote on this at the earliest.

Passing the Bill — The last step in the process is a simple up-or-down vote on passing the bill. This will be the real test of how dedicated the Republicans are to gumming up the works. Under Senate rules, they could hold the post-cloture period open for up to 30 hours. But it is customary to allow the majority party to hold a vote on passage soon after they invoke cloture since cloture takes 60 votes and passage takes only 50. If the Republicans follow Senate custom and let the vote happen quickly, the bill could be out of Congress and on its way to the President’s desk by the end of next week. If they decide to stall, it will be pushed back to the weekend or next week.

Signing the Bill Into Law — As soon as the Senate approves final passage of the bill, it will be enrolled and sent to Obama to be signed into law. There should not be any delay at this stage since Obama is fully supportive of the extension.

Implementation — State Labor Department will begin fulfilling the new law as soon as the bill is signed into law. Reports indicate that states have been preparing for Congress to pass the extension for months, so there should be very little delay in getting checks sent out. Besides extending the filing deadline for poeople exhausting their current tier of benefits, the bill will require states to pay back benefits retroactively for people who have had their benefits cut off since June 2 due to congressionall inaction, so you can expect a lump-sum payment, or a series of checks, sometime soon following the enactment of the unemployment extension bill if you fall in that category.

Lots of moving parts here. This process could move quicker than what I described here — for example, Republicans could agree to a unamious consent agreement on proceeding to the bill instead of forcing the Dems to take the first cloture vote — or it could get slowed down at just about every step. To follow along with all of this over the next week or so, subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed, or just keep checking back for updates. You can also stay in tough on Twitter and/or Facebook.

(Post updated to incorporate clarification of cloture rules from David Waldman.)

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Comments

Displaying 31-60 of 68 total comments.

  • Jonapoo4u 07/09/2010 7:36am

    Id rather find a job i think were they available then live off unemployment anymore.I miss having my own house being able to take my wife out to show her how much i apreciate her.I miss going to work everyday knowing I am providing for my family.I miss being able to buy my kids cloths when they outgrow them and buying them toys and such to show them they are special.I miss not having to live off food stamps and such even though they dont feed us all month.Most of all I miss this country being the land of oportunity were anything could happen,you could do anything if you put your mind to it.

  • indimom2010 07/09/2010 8:03am

    I would rather have a job also….I have sent out so many resumes and actually had a lot of interviews but it seems like when they find out I am 50 they hire someone younger….of course they do not say anything about age….but I know that is being held against 50 and older…which by the way is not old….
    PLEASE PASS THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSIONS!!!! I WAS IN THE SECOND TIER I SHOULD ATLEAST BE ABLE TO DRAW THROUGH THE 4 TIER LIKE OTHERS WERE GIVEN.

  • Chris51 07/09/2010 9:08am

    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

  • Chris51 07/09/2010 9:09am

    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

  • Chris51 07/09/2010 9:10am

    • 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. Why can’t they just do their jobs? We pay them all 6 figure $salaries. They need to stop under-minding the President, and stop ignoring their job responsibilities. Republicans and Democrats they need to start taking their jobs serious.

    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

  • Chris51 07/09/2010 9:11am

    Maybe the Senator’s will take an interest in reading up on the state of USA. We should be so lucky that they would take time to read an article like this with no nonsense:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38135439/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

  • Chris51 07/09/2010 9:12am

    Read and sign this petition on Change.org today if you agree.

    Petition Title: Tell your Senators to vote for an emergency extension of UI Benefits.

    http://uspoverty.change.org/blog/category/employment_unemployment

  • Kerlynne 07/09/2010 11:21am

    http://www.wvgov.org/sec.aspx?id=36

    This is Gov. Manchin contact page.
    Go NOW, WRITE and CALL and do it often. TELL him we don’t care about his political ambition and make a decsion now!!

  • Kerlynne 07/09/2010 11:37am

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

    Contact the president as well.

  • Chris51 07/09/2010 12:21pm

    This has Lobbies Special Interest written all over it.

    We can probably be certain that the Lobbies are extremely busy working for the Coal Mining Corporations’ Special Interest. We know how these companies hold state government hostage under the threat of jobs, while lining their politicians’ pockets. They are just like BP Oil Company. When they look at their bottom line, they see lost lives as small liability in comparison to their profits, executive bonuses, and their own job preservation.

  • TravisNC 07/09/2010 1:14pm

    One of my close friends shot himself yesterday because he lost his home, vehicle and unemployment. I hope the Gov. of West Virgina appoints someone quickly to fill Senator Byrd’s seat. He would have voted for it if he were alive and my friend would still be alive! I know there are others in my friends situation. Don’t be the man that causes more families heartache & dis-pare.

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/09/2010 1:22pm

    THIS is wrong and so sad….

  • charulata 07/09/2010 3:54pm

    I can really relate to alot of your stories its so sad but just pray dont shot yourself or burn down your homes. dont do anything you will regret because thats not goimg to change that fact. i do know what you mean its so hard you can only get help with your bills once ayear go to food pantries once a month and the food they give us is not enough to last. they can good us to death. but im thankful for that little bit. but lord knows we all need another unemployment extension for everyone including the 99ers.

  • rlaughli 07/09/2010 7:58pm

    Note to Republican Senators: NOTHING SHOULD BE AS IMPORTANT AS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILIES- NOTHING!!!!!!! I say no more funding for the wars, congressional salaries or pension, foreign aid or anything else until the unemployed are taken care of. Why is deficient spending OK for all those things and not UI… extensions? Republicans want this economy to fail, PERIOD! They care more about regaining congress than they do the citizens of this country. Why continue to fund an UNWINABLE WAR (Afghanistan) and not extend UI?

    “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” Dwight Eisenhower

  • rlaughli 07/09/2010 7:59pm

    Note to Republican Senators: NOTHING SHOULD BE AS IMPORTANT AS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILIES- NOTHING!!!!!!! I say no more funding for the wars, congressional salaries or pension, foreign aid or anything else until the unemployed are taken care of. Why is deficient spending OK for all those things and not UI extensions? Republicans want this economy to fail, PERIOD! They care more about regaining congress than they do the citizens of this country. Why continue to fund an UNWINABLE WAR (Afghanistan) and not extend UI?

    “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” Dwight Eisenhower

  • rlaughli 07/09/2010 8:08pm
    Link Reply
    + -3

    Forget about an extension and buy Ammo.

  • cgvetintx 07/10/2010 2:49am

    All of you considering suicide or advocating violence against elected officials consider this: THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. If you kill yourself you are no longer a problem for them. If you commit violence against elected officials you will end up either dead or in jail. This is part of their plan. Don’t buy into it. Stay alive and fight damn it!!

  • Chris51 07/10/2010 6:23am

    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
    memo 07/10/2010 2:48pm

    This is not about Rep There was Dems that voted aganist the UI Ext bill too. If the dems all voted yes it would have pass. there was some rep that voted yes

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 8:42pm

    True.
    At the same time, Republicans are the ones who are working 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 todays workforce to do more job responsibility with no more pay.

  • Comm_reply
    cgvetintx 07/11/2010 2:26am

    These corporations seem to think they get a lot of mileage out of those contributions. BP didn’t get such a big return on its investment, did they? I wonder if they would be so eager to invest in the people, say make some contributions of the same amounts to a fund to diperse to the poor and needy, homeless and unemployed? Think they would get a better return on that investment? Think they even care? NO.

  • Chris51 07/10/2010 9:50am

    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

    http://www.wvcoal.com/ 2007 data
    Chevron Total coal production: 12.1 million tons
    ExxonMobil Total coal production: 2.1 million tons

    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…
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Tea_Party_movement_funding

  • Chris51 07/10/2010 1:37pm

    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….

    FreedomWorks(FreedomWorks funders for Tea Party.)

  • Chris51 07/10/2010 1:37pm

    Sharron Angle a Tea Party favorite:
    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!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/30/sharron-angles-unemployme_n_631350.html

  • cgvetintx 07/11/2010 2:23am

    It is summertime in the USA. Being homeless or without electricity or running water in summertime is bad, but not as bad as it’s going to get when winter time comes. Pray for the people. Pray for Congress to get it’s head out of it’s ass and do the right thing. Pray for the rest of America who thinks this is “not their problem” because they still have a job, so they are not concerned, have not been to the “other side” yet, and have no clue what survival really is. Pray hard people.

  • cgvetintx 07/11/2010 2:30am

    I think there is another America about to emerge. I think it is an America that will be seperate from corporate America. I think that there are a lot of smart and clever people who are in the unemployment line. I think eventually they are going to realize they need to create some kind of organization that will better support the people. I think it will be like the old farm cooperatives. There are many skilled laborers who could all come together to make new places for the unemployed to go to live and work and be taken care of, to help each other. I think the government is not realizing that people will not just sit around and wait for the calvary to come. Americans are resilient and smart. We will take care of ourselves and the losers will be these corporations and government entities who forced their hand. It will be interesting to watch this develop. I am already seeing some evidence of it.

  • Kerlynne 07/11/2010 7:11am

    Look!! tomorrow all of us that still have access to phones or email can start calling and writing again and again.CALL the President, the senators and MANCHIN. WE won’t be ignored and pushed aside anymore!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/11/2010 9:10am

    Governer Machin is like most Americans. He wants to preserve the job he has(Politician), and advance his career. He is probably making decisions by listening to political power and money. Does anyone really think he or any of the Senators who have stood in the way of passing UI Ext benefits to the millions who need it, are losing any sleep?

    The millions of ordinary Americans that have been forced into unemployment lines may not have very much money, or even empathy from other fellow employed Americans at this point, but you have the power of your vote in November. Make sure you make it to that appointment.

  • Kerlynne 07/11/2010 7:26am

    Jennifer Rizzo
    Assignment Editor CNN New York

    The number of Americans filing for initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 21,000 last week to 454,000 according to the Labor Department, more than economists expected. People coming to the end of their unemployment benefits are waiting for the Senate to vote on an extension. The Senate, currently on its weeklong summer break, will be back in session July 12th. More than 2.1 million people are expected to have lost their unemployment benefits by that time

  • gb56 07/12/2010 7:21am

    The Republicans say they are Christian, yet they turn their back, not only on the poor of this nation; but also on the hard working tax-paying currently unemployed. Don Francisco said it best in his song, "Every time you turned your back and pretended not to see, when you did it not for the least of them, you did it not for me.) (Jesus)

    I have to think that Jesus, himself, would tell the Republicans, “Woe to you lawyers (congress)! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” (Luke 11:52, NASB ©1995)

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