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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 181-210 of 395 total comments.

  • downandout 07/20/2010 4:42pm

    Just checked the Texas unemployment website. There is a new statement which says the State of Texas will begin processing checks 7-10 days after Obama signs the bill into law. This is such BS. They could have been more prepared and had a lot of the prep work done beforehand. Those extra days can literally mean life or death for some people. I really hope this info is wrong.

  • kstiffler 07/20/2010 4:42pm

    Finally!!!! Thank you Lord is about time but will not be real to me until I have check in hand. Please let things roll forward smoothly and let payments be sent out ASAP. My heart just the same goes out to the 99 weekers. When restored I will be starting my third tier so I am right around the corner from where you stand. God Bless you all!!!!!!!!

  • ExGOP 07/20/2010 4:51pm

    REMEMBER NOVEMBER … the 40 NAY voters

    DeMint (R-SC)
    Ensign (R-NV)
    Enzi (R-WY)
    Graham (R-SC)
    Grassley (R-IA)
    Gregg (R-NH)
    Hatch (R-UT)
    Hutchison (R-TX)
    Inhofe (R-OK)
    Isakson (R-GA)
    Johanns (R-NE)
    Kyl (R-AZ)
    LeMieux (R-FL)
    Lugar (R-IN)
    McCain (R-AZ)
    McConnell (R-KY)
    Murkowski (R-AK)
    Nelson (D-NE)
    Risch (R-ID)
    Roberts (R-KS)
    Sessions (R-AL)
    Shelby (R-AL)
    Thune (R-SD)
    Vitter (R-LA)
    Voinovich (R-OH)
    Wicker (R-MS)

  • ExGOP 07/20/2010 5:41pm

    To my fellow unemployed Americans …

    Please sign the petition at the following site:
    http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/the_99ers_need_a_tier_v_added_to_unemployment_benefits

    This could be you! Economists predicting the jobs will NOT be back by Nov. 30th! Let’s start now to help avoid the crap we just went through.

  • Comm_reply
    indimom2010 07/20/2010 6:12pm

    Done… I signed it…we all need to do this.

  • Comm_reply
    taxthis 07/20/2010 6:19pm
    I will sign this. We as Americans need to stay vigilant, even if we become employed. It’s the right thing to do. Thank you exgop
  • Comm_reply
    taxthis 07/20/2010 6:42pm

    Done, thank you,exgop

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/20/2010 8:25pm

    GOOD JOB EXGOP . SOMEONE ACTUALLY PASSING ON THE INFO POSTED EARLIER. PLEASE POST OFTEN SO EVERYONE GETS ON THE BAND WAGON. WE MUST START TO FIGHT NOW AS NOVEMBER IS AROUND THE CORNER AND I SURELY DONT WANT A BLAH CHRISTMEAS FOR THE CHILDREN AGAIN. WE ALL HAVE LOST ENOUGH. ITS TIME THE HIGHER UPS LOST SOME OF THERE FANCY THINGS. KEEP THE FAITH AND SIGN PETITIONS AT CHANGE.ORG

  • Comm_reply
    skrapper 07/21/2010 2:33am

    You bet I signed it.

  • bigbufordsdad 07/20/2010 5:46pm

    does anyone have any idea about arkansas? the wiki link in the article has no information and neither does my states department of workforce services website. i was on tier 2 when my EUC ran out. this state is so uninformed, its no wonder that the rest of the country thinks we are all toothless backwoods rednecks.

    and get this, i didnt even receive my normal unemployment benefits. they denied me initially, and when i went back after a friend said they told him the same, they said i missed the deadline for my initial claim and sent me straight to EUC. so there is almost $9,000 with my name on it that i cant access.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 6:03pm

    You were denied your regular UI? I never heard that before. How long did you wait after you were laid off to sign up for UI? Did you work at least 6 months prior to applying for UI?

    I live in CA. Here we have to exhaust our regular 26 weeks before advancing to EUC.

  • Comm_reply
    jgpt777 07/20/2010 6:20pm

    big: it does not make sense, if you were on tier 2 and it ran out, you should call the Unemployment after the extension bill is passed, and tell them you need to start tier 3.

    But what does not make sense is you said you ran out of your tier 2, but in order to receive tier 1 or 2 or 3 ect. you have to finish your regular 26wk claim?

  • Comm_reply
    bigbufordsdad 07/20/2010 6:32pm

    i made my claim the following business day. i received a letter within a week that said i was denied due to being terminated, not laid off. i worked for 8 years in an architecture firm. after receiving this letter, i spent a year bouncing around from friends and family, voluntarily went to jail to pay off existing fines, and even stayed in a homeless shelter. after my friend said he went through the same thing and eventually was approved, i went back to the unemployment office and they said the period to make my claim had expired, so they put me on EUC.

  • Comm_reply
    jgpt777 07/20/2010 6:52pm

    big: God Bless I hope all get better for you, just keep on pushing on…

  • jgpt777 07/20/2010 6:29pm

    NEVER VOTE FOR THE ONES WHO VOTED NAY…..REMEMBER HOW THEY DID NOT CARE FOR THE UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS……

    Here’s the list from the party of NO
    Those who voted NAY
    Alexander (R-TN)
    Barrasso (R-WY)
    Bennett (R-UT)
    Bond (R-MO)
    Brown (R-MA)
    Brownback (R-KS)
    Bunning (R-KY)
    Burr (R-NC)
    Chambliss (R-GA)
    Coburn (R-OK)
    Cochran (R-MS)
    Corker (R-TN)
    Cornyn (R-TX)
    Crapo (R-ID)
    DeMint (R-SC)
    Ensign (R-NV)
    Enzi (R-WY)
    Graham (R-SC)
    Grassley (R-IA)
    Gregg (R-NH)
    Hatch (R-UT)
    Hutchison (R-TX)
    Inhofe (R-OK)
    Isakson (R-GA)
    Johanns (R-NE)
    Kyl (R-AZ)
    LeMieux (R-FL)
    Lugar (R-IN)
    McCain (R-AZ)
    McConnell (R-KY)
    Nelson (D-NE)
    Risch (R-ID)
    Roberts (R-KS)
    Sessions (R-AL)
    Shelby (R-AL)
    Thune (R-SD)
    Vitter (R-LA)
    Voinovich (R-OH)
    Wicker (R-MS)

  • Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 7:47pm

    Today, before the vote, I overheard an interview. Wasn’t paying alot of attention for they were talking about the President coming out to push on this passing. I remember thinking “I have heard all this” so did not pay close attention. Then as the conversation went on I distinctly heard the guy being interviewed say that there was talk of working on another 99 week run since the economy was so bad and is expected to recovery so slowly. Our money is not alot but it helps so much. I drew $226 a week. Also, ever dollar spent by us through this money creates an economic effect of $1.61. That is better than a lot of stimulus things they try. Not the best but there is a return and we we KNOW it WILL be spent. It is our food, our gas, our medicine, our bills, our lifeline! The person being interviewed was male and in front of one of our political bldgs. It made me believe there will be help for the 99ers. My heart is with you. I am unemployed too. In school but will be a 99er too, very soon.

  • cplstopstick 07/20/2010 7:51pm

    Well the only one I can vote out on that list is Lugar and hes not up until 2012. I hope people in Indiana don’t forget his part in screwing millions of us over come his election cycle! I certainly wont

  • Comm_reply
    shannwil 07/20/2010 8:49pm

    I live in Indiana also and can’t wait to vote Lugar out.

  • peytonsplace007 07/20/2010 7:56pm

    This is good news! BUT…are they really going to go the whole 30 hours and not give the final vote until around 9pm Wednesday? Reid seemed pretty certain in his closing before adjournment that the Republicans were going to drag this out the entire cloture period.

  • jgpt777 07/20/2010 8:09pm

    Is Obama holding Stimulis Money? that should have paid for the new unemployment extension?

    I don’t know….my friend told me it is true,,,thats why republicans voted no……

    Please advise me…

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 7:46am

    this is were it gets stupid, there is over $350 billion left from the stimulus bill that many speculate the oboma is saving for his 2012 presidential campaign. the republicans and democrats want it spent on unemployment and job creation now.

    The democrats in general were ok with spending the money on unemployment but reid will not allow it, actually reid did agree to a republican extension at one point that was partially paid for from the stimulus but pelosi blocked it.

    So you can’t blame the democrats in general they want to help us, the problem is the games being plaid by pelosi and reid.

  • Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 8:12pm

    I forgot to remember that two Republicans do have common sense and decency. Susan Collin and Olympia Snow of Maine. Thank you ladies for your reasoning in this matter. I do believe that the guy Brown (who replaced our beloved Ted Kennedy) has a heart. He just had to listen to it.

  • Comm_reply
    sruthj217 07/20/2010 8:33pm

    I’ve watched Susan Collins on CSpan for years a first class Senator, she was one of the few Republican congressional leaders during the Bush administration that seemed to care at all about investigating the billions that were disappearing in fraud and no-bid contracts (Blackwater, Hallibuton etc) in Iraq. Olympia Snow also deserves credit here. They truly stood on principal above partisanship.

    Why the Republicans would force a full 30 hour wait when further debate is already closed on the bill puzzles me. It almost seems as if they want to punish the unemployed to the very limits of their power, but surely that can’t be the case. :/ There must be some other reason. Perhaps they just want to irk the Democrats simply because they can (??).

  • Comm_reply
    Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 8:59pm

    You are so right sruthj217. Olympia Snowe suffered through many tragedies as a child and when losing her husband to an auto accident took his house seat in her mid 20s. On her way up she has fought and earned her way. All through tragedies she kept her footing steady and strong. She feels other people’s pain because she has known it. She is smart yet compassionate because she undertands what it is like to struggle with what life serves to you. She is a true inspiration to me.

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 7:40am

    how do you know they are forcing the full 30 hours, reid has not asked for a vote, he has to ask for a vote before it can be blocked, he should ask for a vote call them out and see who is cold harted enough to block it so that it can be on record.

  • Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 8:39pm

    We, as common sense Americans have to keep our heads and use our votes to change the horizon we are looking at. By voting out our Republican Senators that are so obviously only concerned for themselves this can become a reality. Be it Republicans or Democrates …we need to pay more attention to their voting records and when we see that the selfish Washington plague has embedded itself in them… know it is time for them to give their seats to the new, fresh, young minds of decent American men and women who would love a chance to show what bi-partisanism looks and feels like. Age is not a bad thing but younger minds have fresher views and understandings of needed change and the ability to be able to progress with the times. To serve and learn and take our country into the future with their knowledge of how things really are. Being still “in touch” with the modern America and being mentored by the few decent elders of our Senate and our Congress, change can happen…

  • shirlallen4 07/20/2010 8:40pm

    Wow!! I continue to pray for us all, and much more for the 99ers. This is so crazy to me. How in the world do you take care of other countries, funding wars and crap, and not take care of home first? This is really amazing! I tell you what. If THIS don’t make you get on your knees, and pray nothing will! My people are w/out food, homes, cars, gas, etc,. And they continue to slow poke around…dude said, he had to use his credit card to buy gas for his lawnmower!! What in the hell have this world come to? Really unbelievable!! Not only that, we see that its been voted on once-passed, and we’re STILL wondering how long it will be b4 we see sunlight (checks issued). All I can say is DONT STOP PRAYING, AND DONT 4GET NOVEMBER! These folks gotta go!

  • Comm_reply
    skrapper 07/21/2010 2:44am

    End the WAR! Bring our jobs back! ,and we all don’t need the UI Extensions.
    This is not our fault!!! Government created this situation. They need to get us out of it..
    You wouldn’t have these politicians going back and forth with this game their playing.
    Bring our people home, and jobs with it. It will take a while, but we will do just fine taking care of fellow Americans.

  • shirlallen4 07/20/2010 8:48pm

    Thanks Donny Shaw for keeping us up-to-date on the latest! I really found your website to be very Informative. I will definately keep visiting afterwards to stay in the know.
    God Bless you!

  • shirlallen4 07/20/2010 8:50pm

    Thanks Donny Shaw for keeping us up-to-date on the latest! I really found your website to be very Informative. I will definately keep visiting afterwards to stay in the know on what’s going on around me.
    God Bless you!

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