OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

What's Been Happening With the Unemployment Extension Bill?

July 15, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

UPDATE: New info on what’s happening Tuesday — click here to see the update.

With all the work that’s been going on in the Senate this week on financial reform, the small business lending bill and other things, it may seem like the Democrats are doing nothing on the unemployment insurance bill while they wait for an interim senator from West Virginia to be announced. But that’s not the case. On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Senate Dems executed two important procedural actions that will ensure that when the new senator is seated and they can take up the bill, they can take the quickest route possible under Senate rules to get it passed.

Here’s what those actions look like in the Congressional Record — From Tuesday:

And from Wednesday:

So, why is Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D, RI] calling asking for a second reading of the unemployment extension bill and objecting to his own request in the same sentence, and why is Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] objecting to any further proceedings with the bill?

The answer, of course, is that they are using Senate Rule XIV to skip the committee process and put the bill directly on the Senate calendar for floor consideration. Paragraph 4 of that rule states that "every bill and joint resolution introduced on leave, and every bill and joint resolution of the House of Representatives which shall have received a first and second reading without being referred to a committee, shall, if objection be made to further proceeding thereon, be placed on the Calendar.” So, Senator Whitehouse first objected to having the second reading occur on the same day as the first in order to avoid automatic committee referral under Paragraph 3 of the rule, and then Reid objected to further proceeding of the bill because, under Paragraph 4, the next motion in order after the second reading would have been referring the bill to committee. The acting Senate President followed suit and placed the bill on the calendar for consideration under the requirements of Rule XIV.

As you know, under regular order, bills must be approved by a committee before they can be considered on the floor. The Senate could have followed regular order and brought up one of their own unemployment insurance bills that has been cleared by committee. H.R. 4213, for example, was cleared by the Senate Finance Committee on March 1st. But that bill is different than the one that was passed by the House on July 1st (H.R. 5618), so it would have to be reconciled with the House-passed bill before it could be signed into law. The reconciled version would also have to go back for an extra vote in both the Senate and House to make sure that both chambers did, in fact, pass the same exact version of the bill.

In order to avoid those extra steps, Senate Dems are moving forward with the bill passed by the House on July 1st. But there is a trade-off here — H.R. 5618 does not include the extra $25 per week from the Federal Additional Compensation program (FAC) that was initiated in the 2009 stimulus bill. That program would be terminated under the bill passed by the House on July 1st, but it would be extended under H.R.4213. In other words, Senate Dems have chosen to sacrifice the extra $25 per week in order to get this bill done and signed into law a few days — or even a week or more — sooner.

As you can see on the Senate Democrats calendar, the new West Virginia senator is now scheduled to be sworn in at 2:15 p.m. E.T. on Tuesday, and then immediately after, at 2:30, they will begin voting on the unemployment extension bill. That vote will be on a motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed. Once that passes, a cloture motion on the bill itself will be in order for Thursday morning. After that the bill has to be voted on within 30 hours, so, by Friday afternoon, though it is common for the minority party to allow the vote on the bill to take place immediately after the vote on cloture (for example, that’s what happened today on financial reform conference report). For more detailed info on these procedural steps, see this blog post.

Bottom line: once the interim WV senator is sworn in, and barring any surprising last-minute defections, the Democrats will have the 60 votes they need to break any Republican attempt to stop the bill from passing, and they will be able to do it by the end of the week.

P.S. — since I know folks will be asking: no, the bill will not create additional weeks of benefits beyond the tiers that Congress let expire on June 2. Ninety-nine weeks will still be the maximum benefits period available. That means that after November 30, when this bill is set to sunset, anyone receiving benefits will no longer be eligible to move into the next tier after their current tier expires.

P.P.S. The bill will pay back benefits retroactively for however long you have been without your cheques due to congressional inaction.


Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.


Displaying 1-30 of 98 total comments.

RichardStone 07/20/2010 9:41am
in reply to buckbusterdouglas Jul 15, 2010 1:49pm

I am a life long Republican-I have worked and paid taxes for over 50 years-the Republicans have never disappointed me until they have shown their collective rear end over this Unemployment Extension-Senator Isaakson-You are an embarrasment to me and many other Republicans who put you into office-I want you to know that since you ran unopposed I decided to not vote-I will vote against you when the general election is held-I don’t care who the Democrats run against you-You and Saxby both are simply an embarrasment-have a nice day!

Kerlynne 07/17/2010 5:31pm

no mater which one they pass we will loose our $25 a week stimulus money… there goes the food.geee.. no car… no home… no food. what could be next?

beenblue 07/17/2010 8:58am


FEDupWITHtheFED 07/17/2010 2:33am
in reply to karend82 Jul 16, 2010 9:49pm

I have no clueI am in the first extension now, will be out of work for a year in September, I am at 42 weeks right now (inital claim of 26 weeks, plus 16 weeks of the first extension). I called DOL, they told me once these 4 weeks are up I go onto the state ext. then I am basically assed out. No one can answer my questionsAll I want to know is if this gets approved will I still get another federal extension before the state one kicks in??Technically I guess I am still in tier 1 of EB. Its not that I want to be out this long, I WANT to find a job desperatly, but I have had no luck at all! I just want to make sure that I still have something coming in to my family and for how long. One of a couple of things will happen.Fall is the new fiscal year for many organizations, so they will either be making more cuts or hiring because their budgets will be bigger.

karend82 07/16/2010 9:49pm

so does it mean that if they are not creating a tier 5 then will i even get the remainder of the 99 weeks? Will I get paid beyond the 3240 that the page says they owe me but it says that I am no longer allowed to move into a new tier bc I am in the last of tier 4 anyone understand?

karend82 07/16/2010 9:17pm

so what about the rest of us that have eb it says they owe me money I have a remaining balance and it also states that I can not move into a new tier am I even going to get any money I think this is wrong and I also think that ppl who can’t find a job everyone should get the full 99 weeks what is going to happen to the rest of us? Are we gonna get that back pay even though it says that we can not move into a new tier….so if we cant move into a new tier and they are not making one are we lossed out on the weeks we have been claiming? This is so confusing can anyone help me with this question???

DTyner 07/16/2010 11:34am
in reply to pammyz01 Jul 16, 2010 9:34am

I am new here so not sure how this works,…my husband was only on a 2nd tier and has apps out all over the place…after being laid off last October and loosing our health benefits…I have been the only one working and just able to cover the basic necessities…then with all the stress…I wound up having a heart attack in March…so with the UI cut out that’s even more stress…sorry I am venting and frustrated…I had to crawl back up off the hospital bed to go back to work…just to afford the basics.

pammyz01 07/16/2010 9:34am
in reply to conniecrass Jul 16, 2010 9:23am

I have always been there to help anyone in need. I have a hard time asking for myself tho. I really have no one to turn to for money requests. We tried to qualify for food stamps when this happened. Husband makes 56 too much a month. Because they go by gross, not net. They dont take into account that I am now on his insurance and it goes up significantly with a spouse. Before we carried our own seperatly. We live in a small town with about 7K pop. Not too many programs here. I take items to the flea market every weekend for extra money. Raining now, its outside. Jeez, cant a girl get a break!

conniecrass 07/16/2010 9:23am

Just to let you all know what I was told yesterday at the Career Center- if this gets approved it will take about 4 days for it to come down to the states and you will need to contact the career center/unemployment office to get your cards caught up for each week you couldn’t certify. Let’s hope that this time it gets approved and we can get caught up on our bills – it’s been a painful journey but there is hope at the end of the tunnel. Don’t give up – don’t forget to vote in November. This has been a very sobering experience. You see where people have reached out and helped those who are suffering and tried to pull together for the good of others. I hate being in this situation – and vow to reach out to others who are hurting to make other’s lives better too. During this time we’ve had a terrible flood in Tennessee and I’ve been able to help others in worse situations and its made me feel better to reach out and help.

firestorm145 07/16/2010 9:23am
in reply to pammyz01 Jul 16, 2010 9:13am

I am sorry about your car. Maybe we will get lucky and the extension will pass fast. It sucks to have a car taken. If the ui passes fast hopefully you can get the car back. Banks that loan don’t have any clue on how hard it is on unemployed people. All they care about is their money not people.

pammyz01 07/16/2010 9:13am

they took it alright. Called the loan company and they said that I basically had 10 days to pay once I recieve the letter in the mail. I will have to pay what I owe ( of course) plus repo fees of 500 some odd dollars. I dont see us getting our money in 10 days or so. I only has 14 payments left on my car.

firestorm145 07/16/2010 9:08am
in reply to pammyz01 Jul 16, 2010 8:57am

What they will do is probably take the car. But if and when the ui extension passes, You can pay what you owe on the car and get it back. I have had that happen to me in a different state. They repoed a car on me and when I got the money, I went and paid what I owed and I got it back. Just thought I would let you know what happened.

pammyz01 07/16/2010 8:57am

Honest to Goodness truth! I just had the repo man ( men ) come to my home. Boy, was that ever a humbling experience. Actually, never been so embarrassed in my whole life. Now what to do? I had been talking to the loan company til I was blue in the face for a week now. Hoping that they would wait a few more weeks. Nope.

understanding 07/16/2010 8:40am
in reply to FEDupWITHtheFED Jul 16, 2010 8:34am

The congressional record above clearly states H.R. 5618.

7/1/2010—Passed House amended. Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010.

FEDupWITHtheFED 07/16/2010 8:34am
in reply to dedgar Jul 16, 2010 8:21am

I totally hate even being on this!! I have been working since I was old enough to work on tobacco at the age of 13 going 14, longest lapse of unemplyment was after my daughter was born almost 9 years ago, and tha was for 8 months so I could be home with her. Now I am looking at a year since I have worked……..I have been using this time to go to school while looking for work. Hoping the education will help make my resume more appealing! almost 8 years working in HR for a healthcare system, I am pigeonholed because I am overqualified to do basic clerical work, underqualified for my field because I need that Bachelor’s.

firestorm145 07/16/2010 8:25am
in reply to dbruneau5973 Jul 16, 2010 7:59am

I had talked to some senators offices also and just because its on the calendar like that, that doesn’t mean thats the one they will vote on. At this point its up in the air so all we can do is hope for the best. Good Luck evryone one.

dedgar 07/16/2010 8:21am
in reply to FEDupWITHtheFED Jul 16, 2010 7:55am

Yes, if Congress passes a bill that will extend the sunset date.

In regards to purposely confusing us … I agree. It’s like if they think we know the crumbs they send us (in the form of an EDD check) is in the mail, we won’t try as hard to look for a job.

firestorm145 07/16/2010 8:11am
in reply to dbruneau5973 Jul 16, 2010 7:59am

We will see what happens!!!

Livingonaprayer 07/16/2010 8:07am

The extra $25 may not seem like much, but it is all relative. $25 means alot whole lot more to people that are already without money to pay for food, gas and medical expenses. The government wastes tons of money to corporate America and pork bellies that are ridiculous, so why are we (the strapped unemployed) the ones who are suffering, asked to give up this “minor $25”! Why don’t the government officials who take lavish trips, measls, (Free lifetime medical benefits) on the taxpayers tab asked to give up some of their income!

dbruneau5973 07/16/2010 7:59am
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 16, 2010 7:20am

You are absolutely correct, but they didnt say which bill was going to be voted on. HR 4213 or HR 5618. Read the Senate Calendar and it shows HR 4213 which means certain delays. Additionally I spoke with 9 US Senators offices today and they all CONFIRMED that HR413 is up for Cloture Vote NOT HR5618. Meaning the delays are real and in play. Yes, 4213 will be voted on, but it will then be sent back to the House for Reconciliation and Re-vote and then again back to the Senate for the same procedures before going to President Obama. Sorry but again this has been confirmed by 9 Senators Offices this morning… Donny should have confirmed the info before posting it. Look at the Senate Calendar as well!.. Sorry

dbruneau5973 07/16/2010 7:58am
in reply to dedgar Jul 16, 2010 7:51am

HR 5618 is NOT going up for VOTE next week. HR 4213 is. Meaning there will still be a delay of 3 or so more weeks minimally.

FEDupWITHtheFED 07/16/2010 7:55am
in reply to dedgar Jul 16, 2010 7:51am

SO that means I will get another fed extension, before the state one? These tiers confuse the hell out of me! I think they purposes try to confuse us on the DOL websites and government websites!

dedgar 07/16/2010 7:51am
in reply to FEDupWITHtheFED Jul 16, 2010 5:37am


If HR 5618 passes next week, once you’ve exhausted Tier 1 you will be eligible for Tier 2, and so on. However, all extensions will end on Nov. 30th.

I tried to piece HR 5618 into the original bill, but there’s been so many amendments … I’m confused.

dbruneau5973 07/16/2010 7:49am
in reply to Jonapoo4u Jul 16, 2010 7:42am

You are absolutely correct, but they didnt say which bill was going to be voted on. HR 4213 or HR 5618. Read the Senate Calendar and it shows HR 4213 which means certain delays. Additionally I spoke with 9 US Senators offices today and they all CONFIRMED that HR413 is up for Cloture Vote NOT HR5618. Meaning the delays are real and in play. Yes, 4213 will be voted on, but it will then be sent back to the House for Reconciliation and Re-vote and then again back to the Senate for the same procedures before going to President Obama. Sorry but again this has been confirmed by 9 Senators Offices this morning… Donny should have confirmed the info before posting it. Look at the Senate Calendar as well!..

Jonapoo4u 07/16/2010 7:42am

I was watching Cspan at the time sen harry Reid put the UI on the calendar for tuesday so i can confirm it.they will swear the new senator in and then emediately vote as stated in this article.30 hours afterwards they will vote again and then await a predisdent signature on it

firestorm145 07/16/2010 7:20am
in reply to dbruneau5973 Jul 16, 2010 7:05am

I truly think you are wrong on this. I had talked to a senator. It goes up for vote on Tuesday. The calendar lots of times is wrong or they have not put it on the calendar yet. I guess we can only see what happens.

dbruneau5973 07/16/2010 7:16am
in reply to dbruneau5973 Jul 16, 2010 7:05am

EVEN BETTER YET.. HR5618 is not showing on any of the Calendars. Only a Gen Order no 459 to have it placed on the Calendar.

dbruneau5973 07/16/2010 7:05am

Sorry everyone but the information in this post about the BILL HR5618 is WRONG. I am in the same boat as everyone else here, but in FACT HR4213 is on the SENATE CALENDAR for July 20th. NOT HR5618. The link for the Senate Calendar clearly shows this. What does this mean? Well the extra steps that Donny said were trying to be avoided, will NOT be. It means, essentially from the time it goes for vote to invoke cloture on Tuesday, potentially 2 or even 3 weeks before it gets signed by the President and another week before we see anything. Once the voting in Senate is done, it will have to go back to the HOUSE for reconciliation and re-vote and then again back to the SENATE for the same. POTENTIALLY, this does NOT HAPPEN before the Congress leaves on their next break August 6th. THIS IS NOT GOOD! I know personally I am screwed! Bills are now so far behind and patience has worn so very thin. If this is the case we will be out on the street. Take a look at the link on the Senate Calendar…

nathanc 07/16/2010 6:36am
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 15, 2010 1:56pm

I agree about the $25, it won’t send me on a vacation. Wish they would go ahead and vote on this. The week was hard enough;food banks , bumming begging, I am so ashamed of this. So I say to the ( rich politicians who had everything handed to them on a silver platter) stay there till you get it DONE. Next for me will be digging through the local resturant’s garbage for food. Have a nice vacation. P.S. nov. is just around the corner

firestorm145 07/16/2010 6:30am

Just to let people know, I have been filing on line .My state told me to keep filing. I have been through the tiers. Once the bill,if signed, it takes a few days. the last tier i was on I got it in three days once it passed. Just thought I would let people know.

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