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Senate Breaks GOP Filibuster of Unemployment Extension, Bill Now Set to Become Law

July 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: I’m traveling, so a little late with the updates here, but it looks like this finally passed earlier this evening by a vote of 59-39. The bill now moves back to the House of Representatives for one more vote. They are expected to hold that vote tomorrow and the bill will most likely be signed into law tomorrow as well.

UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.: The Senate is voting right now on 5 Republican amendments to the bill and will vote on final passage of the bill after these votes. None of the amendments are expected to pass. Under Senate rules, the final vote on passage must happen before 9 p.m. this evening. You can follow along with the votes live on C-SPAN 2.

Original post below…

After 6 weeks of failure and delay, the Senate this afternoon finally voted to end a Republican filibuster of the unemployment insurance extension bill, allowing it to move forward towards final passage and becoming law. The Senate still has to take one more vote on the bill, but the motion they passed this afternoon was the big hurdle that, until now, they had been unable to overcome. The bill is now virtually guaranteed to be signed into law this week.

Sen. Carte Goodwin [D, WV], West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s pick for replacing the late Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV], was sworn-in just moments before the Senate voted on the motion to end the Republican filibuster, and he provided Democrats with the 60th vote they needed to pass it. One Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE], voted with Republicans against the motion, and two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins [R, ME] and Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME], crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats.

Under Senate rules, a vote on pasage of the bill itself must now occur within 30 hours. The vote on passage requires a simple majority of 51 “ayes” to pass, not 60 like the motion to break the filibuster. Since the Democrats have just shown that they have more than 51 votes for the bill, the Republicans may agree to letting the final vote happen before the 30-hour clock has completely run out.

What’s in the Bill?

This bill, H.R. 4213, began as a $141 billion, 426-page omnibus package of stimulus spending, tax measures, unemployment insurance and more. But what the Senate voted to move forward with today (S. Amdt. 4425) is revision of the bill that whittles it down to $34 billion, 13 pages and includes only one substantial item — an extension of unemployment insurance for people who have been out of work for 6 months or longer. You can even see this change reflected in the title of the bill. It was originally called — somewhat awkwardly — the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act.” It has now been renamed simply the “Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.”

The filing deadline for unemployment insurance benfits expired on June 2nd; this bill would extend that deadline until November 30, 2010, allowing unemploed individuals who exhaust their current tier of benefits, or who have exhausted their last tier since June 2nd, can file to move into the next tier of benefits.

The bill also provides for benefits to be paid back retroactively for people who have seen their payments cut off since the filing deadline expired on June 2.

Additionally, it includes an extension of the closing deadline for the first-time homebuyers tax credit, but that provision is redundant with a bill that was signed into law on July 2nd (H.R. 5623). There are also three revenue-raiser provisions in the bill — changes to the Travel Promotion Act, cracking down on tax fraud committed by prisoners, and recessions from the Defense Department budget. These are three provisions are estimated to raise $146 million over the next ten years and generally non-controversial. You can read more about them here.

What’s Not in the Bill?

Tier V — The bill would not create additional weeks of unemployment benefits. 99 weeks (Tier IV) would still be the maximum amount of a time a person could receive benefits for in states with high unemployment rates, and 86 weeks (Tier III) would still be the max in states with low unemployment rates.

Federal Additional Compensation Program — This stimulus program, which provided an extra $25 per week in unemployment benefits payments, would not be extended under the bill. That means that all retroactive payments would be for $25 less than what they were before June 2nd, as will all payments in new tiers.

COBRA — These benefits for helping unemployed people pay for health insurance were dropped from the bill in a previous iteration. They will not be extended in this bill and there is no plan to extend them during this session of Congress.

What Happens Next?

As I mentioned above, the Senate will take one more vote on the bill within the next 30 hours. Once that passes, they will send it over to the House of Representatives, which will vote on agreeing to the Senate’s changes to the bill. The House already has that vote on their schedule for the week, and it is expected to pass easily. After that, the bill will be enrolled and sent to President Obama for his signature. That could happen by the end of the week, possibly even as soon as Wednesday afternoon.

Once the bill is law, state labor departments will immediately begin implementing it and sending out payments. As Annie Lowrey at the Washington Independent explains, these agencies are already preparing for the law, but the combination of high unemployment and uncertainty over what Congress will do with the benefits has given them a real logistical headache and may cause some hiccups in implementation.

To find and share information on how this bill is being implemented in your state, see the Benefit Wiki project on OpenCongress.

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Comments

Displaying 91-120 of 395 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/20/2010 2:24pm

    end of the year = November.. they round up

  • minortimes 07/20/2010 1:03pm

    Does anyone live in VA? I have not seen any info on their site containing information about payments or anything…I only exhausted my first 26 weeks which ended June 2. Filed every week since then online…

  • Jonapoo4u 07/20/2010 1:06pm

    dont think the house will vote on it tonight

  • getdown2010 07/20/2010 1:24pm

    Hallelujah! This is a good “teachable” moment; our government or our politicians (take a pick) is flawed!

  • baci123 07/20/2010 1:26pm

    I am very pleased that the bill was passed however, what about the COBRA Subsidy extension? Where does this stand? I know that there is an amendment to the bill under discussion. The cost of Healthcare is wiping out the American people. Insurance companies are getting too much money. Something needs to be done to help us NOW!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/20/2010 2:27pm

    This is what Donny Shaw wrote—

    What’s Not in the Bill?
    Tier V — The bill would not create additional weeks of unemployment benefits. 99 weeks (Tier IV) would still be the maximum amount of a time a person could receive benefits for in states with high unemployment rates, and 86 weeks (Tier III) would still be the max in states with low unemployment rates.

    Federal Additional Compensation Program — This stimulus program, which provided an extra $25 per week in unemployment benefits payments, would not be extended under the bill. That means that all retroactive payments would be for $25 less than what they were before June 2nd, as will all payments in new tiers.

    COBRA — These benefits for helping unemployed people pay for health insurance were dropped from the bill in a previous iteration. They will not be extended in this bill and there is no plan to extend them during this session of Congress

  • timch65 07/20/2010 1:28pm

    I suppose they would vote differently if it were concerning their family members. http://www.sovereigntyfirst.blogspot.com/

  • Blesed90 07/20/2010 1:29pm

    As far as I knew in Arizona what ever tier we were on we would just finish it out and that would be it. I had like 4 weeks left for my tier before they cut it off. So as far as I know I’m only getting the 4 weeks that was left. BUT I AM VERY THANKFUL FOR THAT. PROVERBS 30:8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches,but give me only my daily bread.

    I am sooo thankful that this bill has passed. I am 35 weeks pregnant and I have been on pins & needles wondering how I was going to pay for my son’s needs. All the money I had went to bills So I havent been able to buy a crib or anything for my unborn child. With the 4 weeks worth of payments I will be able to do so.

  • Comm_reply
    gmissladyg 07/20/2010 1:34pm

    Hi Blesed90, I would like to help you with diapers, bibs, or even formula. You can email me at mzgka@yahoo.com.

  • Brian9 07/20/2010 1:32pm

    This is really confusing because there are two bills out there. H.R. 5618 and H.R 4213, which if I am correct is the one that passed. But reading the bill and then reading news reports I seem to find a mixture of the two bills. Does this bill extend the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provisions such as COBRA, the extra $25 per week and funding for the state/federal EB programs ? Is the new deadline Nov 30th or Dec 31st ?

  • Comm_reply
    mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 1:40pm

    H.R.4213 and not it does not have the $25 a week increase stimulus. The bill has basically been stripped down to only UI Extension with nothing beyond 99 weeks depending on what state you’re in and what the unemployment rate is in your state. Just take the time & read the article above. It tells you what’s in the bill & what’s not.

  • Comm_reply
    Brian9 07/20/2010 1:58pm

    I read the article above, but what I am saying is if you read the bill, it is different than the article above. So, if it does not include the $25, then it dosen’t include funding for EB. Therefor this bill provides nothing beyond 79 weeks, not 99.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 2:40pm

    Read the “Reid Amendment #4425” at the below link:

    http://finance.senate.gov/legislation/download/?id=bdec0c85-9766-4b6b-8e15-ed7b19ebd49c

    It does fund EB provided your states unemployment rate qualifies for it.

  • Comm_reply
    Brian9 07/20/2010 2:59pm

    And it takes away the penalty for taking a part work. That is great. Thank you so much for the info.

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/20/2010 2:28pm

    What’s Not in the Bill?
    Tier V — The bill would not create additional weeks of unemployment benefits. 99 weeks (Tier IV) would still be the maximum amount of a time a person could receive benefits for in states with high unemployment rates, and 86 weeks (Tier III) would still be the max in states with low unemployment rates.

    Federal Additional Compensation Program — This stimulus program, which provided an extra $25 per week in unemployment benefits payments, would not be extended under the bill. That means that all retroactive payments would be for $25 less than what they were before June 2nd, as will all payments in new tiers.

    COBRA — These benefits for helping unemployed people pay for health insurance were dropped from the bill in a previous iteration. They will not be extended in this bill and there is no plan to extend them during this session of Congress

  • amashoosier08 07/20/2010 1:38pm

    I was just on my state website and it stated that after the UI bill is signed into law by Obama that it will takes weeks to reprogram the computer. I hope it does not take weeks!!! I hope the state is just saying that so we do not jam the phone lines with questions like “how long will it take till payments start” and that it takes at least a few days to reprogram the computers. It would be nice to see something soon. I was 6 weeks into my EB (my last program till i am a 99er) when my payments stopped on June 13th and I know I will see back pay but how much longer must I keep waiting and pushing off my utility companies and rent?

  • skrapper 07/20/2010 1:39pm

    If you lost your job do to your company moving to another Country “DISPLACED” as far as I am concerned, our Government owes you until they can give you a decent job. “not minimum wage either” You have to have money flowing in and out of business, and banks to end this Depression. “and it is one!”
    Also come November, it’s are turn to vote. If your Unemployed, or you have seen the B.S. that has been going on “holding us hostage” while they play games. Just remember, take that to the polls with you. Don’t forget what they did to us. What are they going to do with us who no longer qualify? Sweep us under a rug. Don’t think this can’t and won’t happen to you. November is our turn to vote. Make sure you do, and no Incumbants will be re-elected. We need new people.

  • Comm_reply
    Brian9 07/20/2010 3:19pm

    No Republicans should be re-elected, except two.

  • amashoosier08 07/20/2010 1:40pm

    correction to my post I meant UI entension bill

  • ToniB23 07/20/2010 1:44pm

    Thank God that we have some victory today. Now I think that we should continue to blast off and send the republican emails and call their offices so that the UI benefit will continue beyond 99 weeks. The American People are in need. I understand that the Republicans are concerned about how it will be paid for but they too can come up with a solution instead of being so stone face and saying No to so many that are need of help. I remember when little Bush was in office and he boomed Afghanistan, then told all of America that the soldiers had to remain there and we had to help rebuild their country. Well I have a question for all the Republicans and the 1 Democratic that voted no today when are you going to start helping rebuild America and invest in you own country? They have no problem funding the war in Iraq but when it comes to the American People who have worked most of their lives the have not problem telling us no. I felt like one of those late night feed the children Commercials.

  • Reader12 07/20/2010 1:49pm

    the fact that 40 U.S. Senators actually voted “no” on this bill is chilling.
    Republicans seem to think as long as they can keep the economy tanked and everything in ruin they will inherit the government come November from an angry mob of misinformed unemployed and underemployed.
    I think not!

  • dwcstmdznr 07/20/2010 1:55pm

    Harry Reid is talking on C-span now. Vote will not be till tomorrow because Republicans are making wait the full 30 hours to vote on it A___wipes

  • Catfish8173 07/20/2010 1:58pm

    To all of you who like to comment on senators who dont care about what has happened to us on employment i just want you all to listen to Tom Harkin D-Iowa on his speech today and in the past really makes me proud for those in Iowa that they have a person who represents them with a true American heart and soul.

    My hats off to him for being a caring U.S. Senator.

    Thx you sir

  • Reader12 07/20/2010 1:59pm

    >>Harry Reid is talking on C-span now. Vote will not be till tomorrow because Republicans are making wait the full 30 hours to vote on it A___wipes >>

    wow, their heartlessness apparently knows no bounds.
    Maybe they can call their banker lobbyist buddies to see if they can squeeze in a farewell round of evictions during that time……..

  • James1980 07/20/2010 2:14pm

    The week of June 15th was week 79 for me. I’m just confused: Does that mean I don’t get 20 more weeks (or retroactive payment for the last 6 weeks)?

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/20/2010 2:23pm

    WHAT IT MEANS JAMES1980>> that in the end we still lost to the Republicans. NO Stimulus of $25 a week. and no extra tiers. Even though we may get the UI we all took a pay cut of $100 a month and shortened our contract….. whoppeeee

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/20/2010 3:04pm

    there was never a tier 5 in this bill or any bill for that matter, so far no democrat has proposed a tier 5, you can not blame that on the republicans, also the republican bills blocked by Reid included both the $25 and the cobra subsidy

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/20/2010 3:57pm

    Abaratarr>>>> i know that the Tier 5 wasn’t in either of the bills but neither is the $25. I know Reid is the one that is causing the issues however I have always felt if they had just left things alone and voted on things for the UI back in May we would of been okay. WE took a pay cut of $100 a month for all of us and at this time NO hope of the Tier 5 unless they reintroduce another bill before November.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 2:44pm

    You should get EB provided your States unemployment rate qualifies? Go to your States Employment Departments website for answers.

  • Christine58 07/20/2010 2:15pm

    Okay, I was doing the extreme happy dance until I read they are taking until tomorrow to vote again. How do they decide on that?
    Anyhow I voted today in the elections here in Georgia. I DID NOT vote Republican!! Keep praying everyone!

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