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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 211-240 of 395 total comments.

  • seanurse 07/20/2010 8:59pm

    I DONT GET TWO THINGS ABOUT THIS BILL. ONE IF REID HAD ENOUGH VOTES TO PASS THE BILL , WHY COULDNT THEY HAVE PUT IT BACK THE WAY IT WAS ORIGINALLY WITH THE 25 AND ALL EXTRAS FOR US. TWO IF WE HAVE PASSED IT TODAY HOW DOES THE REP HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THEM WAIT FOR 30 HOURS. DONT WE HAVE THE VOTES TO OVERRIDE THE REP? IM LOST ON THIS PART. ANY HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED. UP LATE STRESSED AND CANT SLEEP AGAIN.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 10:01pm

    Hi Seanurse:

    1. In order to sway the two Republicans to cross the isle and vote with the Democrats, Reid had to compromise and trim (more like dissected) the costs. The cost of the bill is way way down from its original version.
    2. I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s just an archaic rule. Stupid rule, huh?

    P.S. Thanks for the change.org website. I will be re-posting my message daily. Try to get some sleep.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 10:24pm

    Here’s what CA EDD wrote regarding $25 stimulus …

    “In addition, the new bill does not continue the subsidy for COBRA health coverage. It also does not allow for the $25 federal stimulus payment added to each week of unemployment benefits on any new claim filed after May 23, 2010. For any existing claims already receiving the extra $25 payments, those payments can continue until the customer runs out of benefits or until December, whichever comes first.”

    This to me sounds like people on UI before May 23, 2010 will still get the extra $25, but those filing a new claim after May 23rd won’t. I wonder if they meant to say “new tier” instead of “new claim”? I guess I’ll find out next week when I get my letter and claim forms. I hope they’re right. It would be a pleasant surprise.

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 7:34am

    because he needed two republicans to pass the bill, Snowe said that she would not vote for the bill if it included the cut in social security benefits or the retroactive tax increase.

    The extra $25 would not have caused the bill to fail, not sure why he took that out to begin with.

  • mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 9:32pm

    ATTENTION!!!! for SOME of you will be Receiving a CHECK or CHECKS NEXT WEEK. This from the EDD CA GOV web site for more details visit there site. EDD stands ready to respond quickly to the reauthorization of extension benefits. About 145,000 of our customers affected are those who were collecting on the last extension claims called the FED-ED extension in California.EDD has been advising these customers to continue submitting completed continued claim forms in the event Congress took further action on the extensions. For those who have done so, EDD should be able to START ISSUING CHECKS TO ELIGIBLE CLAIMANTS BY NEXT WEEK.For those who have not submitted claim forms, EDD will be issuing such forms next week so eligible claimants can certify for further FED-ED benefits.

  • mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 9:35pm

    HERE IS SOME MORE INFO!!!!The department has been maintaining a list of the remaining 255,000 of our affected customers. These are customers who ran out of either a regular UI claim or one of the four tiers of federal extension claims over the last several weeks. Some of these claimants have already received claim forms in the event Congress took further action. EDD will automatically file the next level of extension claim for the remainder of these customers. There is no need to contact the department. Staff will be working throughout the weekend so claim forms can be sent to these individuals next week.

    Customers will receive claim forms in rapid succession over the next few weeks to complete quickly and send back to EDD. The department will issue checks for eligible weeks of unemployment until we are caught up on all retroactive weeks of benefits on these claims.

  • mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 11:48pm

    I CAN’T BELIEVE THESE BASTARD REPBLICANS ARE HOLDING UP THE UI EXTENSION BILL AGAIN!!! THEY ARE HOLDING THE BILL FOR THE FULL 30hrs. Setting up the final vote for either late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. So instead of the President possibly signing the bill Wednesday afternoon it probably won’t be signed until Thursday. BEFORE ANYONE RESPONDS TO THIS COMMENT PLEASE GO TO YouTube AND TYPE IN THE SEARCH BOX “UPDATE Unemployment Extension ON HOLD AGAIN! JULY 20 2010” and PLEASE, PLEASE WATCH the WHOLE 2:53 video! We need to vote these UNCOMPASSIONATE ASS HOLES OUT!!!!!!!!!

  • block4 07/21/2010 12:03am

    I am still unsatisfied. I am happy to get the money, but still angry for the way myself and other unemployed Americans have been treated. I lost my job while I was on maternity leave for I child I put up for adoption. I got married in January and my husband lost his job that was funded by Obama’s stimulus funds. Not only did he lose his job, but he also now has no unemployment because his funds ran out. I only recieved $130 a week in which we had been living on since the end of April. I believe that the people in Washington should suffer as others of us have. I think they should have to live on nothing, lose everything they worked so hard to get and see what happens then! Shame on you, Washington, shame on you!

  • tiamo4ever 07/21/2010 1:26am

    Copy this list, if your senator is on it, and VOTE in November !
    Lamar Alexander [B-TN]
    Robert Bennett [B-UT]
    Christopher Bond [B-MO]
    Richard Burr [B-NC]
    Saxby Chambliss [B-GA]
    Thomas Coburn [B-OK]
    Bob Corker [B-TN]
    John Cornyn [B-TX]
    John Ensign [B-NV]
    Lindsey Graham [B-SC]
    Charles Grassley [B-IA]
    Judd Gregg [B-NH]
    Orrin Hatch [B-UT]
    Kay Hutchison [B-TX]
    John Isakson [B-GA]
    Jon Kyl [B-AZ]
    Richard Lugar [B-IN]
    John McCain [B-AZ]
    Mitch McConnell [B-KY]
    Lisa Murkowski [B-AK]
    Ben Nelson [B-NE]
    John Thune [B-SD]
    George Voinovich [B-OH]

  • BullWinkle 07/21/2010 2:13am

    IT IS NOW MY AMERICAN DUTY TO MAKE SURE I VOTE AGAINST EVERY REPUBLICAN IN EVERY ELECTION . ACCEPT FOR THE TWO THAT CROSSED THAT AISLE AND WENT AGAINST THE REST OF THERE PARTY BECAUSE THEY NEW THERE PARTY WAS IN THE WRONG . THEY WERE HEARD NOW FROM HERE ON LET THE TRUE AMERICANS BE HEARD THEY CHANGED OUR LIVES AND WE CAN CHANGE ALL THE REPUBLICANS LIVES COME VOTING TIME. (NEVER FORGET) AND PEOPLE DONT LAY BACK START WRITING LETTERS / EMAILS
    NOVEMBER 30 IS NOT FAR OFF AND I DONT SEE IT GETTING ANY BETTER. LOOKS LIKE THEY ARE SETTING US UP TO NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE A GOOD CHRISTMAS FOR OUR CHILDREN.
    SO DONT LET UP JUST BECAUSE THIS WAS PASSED KEEP HAMMERING THEM. STAY STRONG!!

  • Comm_reply
    understanding 07/21/2010 2:29am

    It still gets to me that Sen. Reid would let H.R. 5618, a bill that is a standalone and has the words “Restoration” and “Emergency” in the name is allowed to languish when it was all set for a vote in the Senate. It is obvious he knew that it would pass. He just didn’t want to push it forward.

  • Comm_reply
    cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:09am
    Link Reply
    + -2

    understanding – I don’t think you understand what happened. The first bill the Democrats attempted to get passed was HR5618, which the Republicans blocked three separate times, so the Democrats were forced to produce a stripped down version of the bill, in order to get the two Republican senators from Maine, to compromise and cross the aisle and vote for the bill, which was needed to pass it. Once the recently deceased Senator Byrd’s replacement was sworn into office and his vote cast, THEN and ONLY then we they able to pass the bill, granted us our benefits.

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 7:28am

    reid never allowed for a vote on 5618 in the senate, he made it clear 4213 or nothing, but 4213 is not the bill is was six month ago, it went from 426 pages of pork and special interest money down to 13 pages.

  • skrapper 07/21/2010 3:03am
    Thank you for your e-mail to my office. I appreciate having the benefit of your thoughts.

    Please know that this e-mail address is checked only periodically and as such is not the preferred method for communicating with me via e-mail. I encourage you to use the e-mail contact form on my website at http://www.house.gov/snyder/contact-form.shtml as the best way to communicate with me electronically.

    “HERE IS YOUR MONEY BEING WASTED. I LIVE IN MICHIGAN NOT ARKANSAS. and THEY ARE CONTACTING ME. SO HERE IS THE EMAIL ADDRESS, FREEBEE BY ME.”

  • Kerlynne 07/21/2010 4:08am

    Sooo, after trimming the bill down and taking away $100 a month, NOT voting the same bill in 3 times, that is up for a vote now, do you really think, especially waiting the 30 hours, they are actually going to vote for the bill to pass this time????

  • Comm_reply
    cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:20am

    It’ll pass. They only need 31 votes to actually pass the bill, as opposed to the 40 votes for the first vote to cease cloture. It’s a done deal, which makes it even more infuriated that most of the Republicans are throwing a temper tantrum by delaying it, if only by 30hrs. That’s 30 more hours that hard working, now employed Americans (Dem & Rep) are without their benefits, in addition to the many weeks, they’ve already endured. It’s akin to when we were kids, and your brother or sister asked you to pass something to them, so to be a brat, you set it down far away from them, to irk them. It’s cold, childish and abusive.

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/21/2010 4:27am

    Perhaps CAVSRULEALL…. but with the way it is now isn’t what we need.

  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 07/21/2010 6:30am

    51 votes for cloture, the final vote needed. the first vote needed 60 to
    stop the filibuster.
    Art LeDoux

  • trynghard63 07/21/2010 4:20am

    Im really confused now, some people are saying they are going to wait 30 hours, the news on fox 6 is saying Obama is signing it today? Anyone else here from Alabama?

  • Comm_reply
    cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:23am

    They can’t vote until 9pm, tonight due to the 30hr wait. …sounds like the House or Representatives and President Obama may burn the midnight oil and wait up til then and get the bill passed tonight, even if it takes til 10-11pm.

  • ExGOP 07/21/2010 4:21am

    I want reporters out there to call them (the GOP) on it. I want to hear their lame excuse for stalling on this bill so I can get pissed off all over again. Are they sore losers or are they cold hearted bastards … or both?

  • Comm_reply
    cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:59am

    Both.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/21/2010 5:19am

    YOUR REPLY IS INCORRECT. HR 5618 WAS NEVER VOTED ON IN THE SENATE. THE HOUSE PASSED IT ON JUNE 29TH (JUST BEFORE THE 4TH OF JULY) DUE TO THE FILIBUSTERING IN THE SENATE REGARDING HR 4213.

  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 07/21/2010 6:22am

    I took cavsruleall’s answer,“both” as a reply to your statement,“Are they
    sore losers or are they cold hearted bastards…or both?”
    If that’s what you are replying to then he is correct.
    Art LeDoux

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/21/2010 6:34am

    If cavsruleall was replying to my sore loser statement, then you both are correct. However, his statement regarding HR 5618 is still incorrect, and that is what I was replying too.

  • cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:21am

    Sorry, meant to say “infuriating” and “UNemployed.” Typos…

  • gerryd 07/21/2010 4:28am
    EXGOP YOU ARE VERY HELPFUL TO PEOPLE AND THANKS. HOW CAN I FIND OUT MY STATE’S RATE REGARDING IF I WAS STILL ELIGIBLE FOR THE EB BENEFITS THAT THEY CUT ME OFF OF AFTER GETTING 4 WEEKS OF THEM IN PENNSYLVANIA. I CALLED U/C AND THEY DID NOT KNOW THE RATE??? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE RATE SHOULD BE? I AM SO ABSOLUTELY SICK – PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, AND JUST MENTALLY DRAINED OVER WHAT THEY HAVE DONE ARE STILL DOING TO US. ALSO WHAT IS A 99ER?
  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/21/2010 4:36am

    GERRYD>>> I am not in your state but I just wanted to let you know I understand and this is hard when no one will give you straight answers or you don’t understand the damn questions to ask or what they are saying. I do know that a 99er is someone that can have or has had 99 weeks of unemployment, some of it through their state and the rest through the federal government. After all of the Tiers ( 1 through 4 ) and then what ever the state provides it usually adds up to 99 weeks. Please try not to panic, there is some help out there. Call 211 and ask, it’s okay to ask now. Stay here and talk to us if you need too.

  • Comm_reply
    understanding 07/21/2010 4:39am

    In a twitter tweet:

    Senate Majority Ldr Reid: 9 pm EDT vote on final passage of unemployment benefits extension, unless deal reached w/ GOP to yield back time.

  • Comm_reply
    understanding 07/21/2010 4:42am

    Cavsruleall, thanks for the clarification if this is the case. After all the changes and name changes, it is hard to know what’s in it.

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