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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 61-90 of 395 total comments.

  • Jonapoo4u 07/20/2010 11:55am

    i have 2 things to say..about when do we see the house vote on the ui i see it on the caledar for this week but not when i hope it isnt at the end of all the bs they are voting on and…

    to mike1lakerfan i have never voted because it is hard to figure out which of the lesser of the evils to vote for when the presidential vote was here i didnt vote but i woulda voted for mcain…never did i think he was a snake in the grass. he supported alot that i believed in.I think it would be alot easier to vote if they wernt all big fat liars.someone should create a non biased site that shows what canidates for everything are really for
  • jakj1 07/20/2010 12:01pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Elections
    West Virginia Gov. Manchin to Run for Byrd’s Senate Seat. Manchin made his announcement today, July 20th, 2010

  • trynghard63 07/20/2010 12:01pm

    Not just Novemember. Remember at every electon. Remember this site. Lets keep tabs on what they are doing, stay more informed. And never miss a vote. I know some wont come back to the site now. But I have read your stories and my heart goes out to each and everyone of you! Honestly we all have to band together and figure out a way to make our voices be heard, for us, the 99ers and our jobs!

  • mjh 07/20/2010 12:01pm

    In the part that reads, “Including payments in all new tiers” with regards to the FAC, does this then mean to everyone that anybody about to start a new or next tier , meaning tier 2, 3, and/or 4 (or EB) will NOT get the $25.00 or does this refer to ‘payments in tiers’ as being those who would be starting a tier 1 for the first time??

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/20/2010 12:23pm

    mjh NOONE WILL GET THE EXTRA 25 FROM STIMULUS. SEE WHATS NOT INCLUDED IN BILL ABOVE.

  • BullWinkle 07/20/2010 12:04pm

    THEY WILL TRY AGAIN TO KNOCK US DOWN IM SURE BUT I AM SO VERY SURE OF ONE THING HERE REBUPLICANS I WILL NOT FORGET THIS DAMN GAME YOU PLAYED AND WHEN ITS TIME TO VOTE I THINK DEMOCRATS WILL REMAIN IN THE HOUSE!! BECAUSE I CANNOT SEE ANYONE VOTING FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AFTER WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO THE HARDWORKING AMERICAN PEOPLE.. STAY STRONG AMERICANS AND JUST LIKE 911 (NEVER FORGET)

  • masnavi 07/20/2010 12:06pm

    It is to bad that this was delayed for so long causing undo stress. I will never forget this and will make sure my family never forgets what filibuster means and that is rarely used until now!!!!!!!! I Will make sure no one in my family ever votes Republican. To be made out that the hard working Americans who lost jobs are just looking for hand outs is despicable.

  • Jonapoo4u 07/20/2010 12:10pm

    back when i still had my house in florida before i lost my job my neibor lost his job he is a 99er i never seen him work or look for work he spent everybit of his money every week buying beer its people like him that made us look bad

  • shantely 07/20/2010 12:13pm

    WOW, I am one of the 99ers and I am heart broken that nothing is being done to help us; I have been trying and trying to seek a fulltime job. I even went back to school part time to obtain better marketable skills to get a job, I am already on welfare and it is not enough to pay for the basic. At least with unemployment I was able to save a little and pay all my basic bills.

    JOBS is what is needed, I want and need a decent paying job.

  • Comm_reply
    skrapper 07/21/2010 1:28pm

    I am one of the 99ers too.
    Just remember what J.F.K. said, and then send this on to your senators. They need a refreser course.
    “THE WORLDS BEST WELFARE REFORM,,, IS A GOOD PAYING JOB.

  • HoustonTx25 07/20/2010 12:14pm

    YES EVERY REPUBLICAN HAS BEEN PLAYING WITH US, BUT LET US NOT FORGET SEN. SNOWE AND COLLINS WHO VOTED FOR YES TO END THE GOP FILIBUSTER. VOTE FOR THEM NOVEMBER BUT NOT THE REPUBLICAN BODY WHO VOTED AGAINST THE BILL LIKE MY STATE SENATOR HUTCHISON AND CORNYN REPRESENTING TEXAS AS ONE OF THE GREAT STATE, THEY EMBARRASSED TEXANS AND MOST OF ALL AMERICANS. THEY ARE BOOTED OUT NOVEMEBER. BUH BYE! NOW, WE STIL NEED TO FIGHT FOR 99ERS. I FEEL BAD FOR THEM=( THEY ARE LEFT OUT.

  • Comm_reply
    dlharris1189 07/20/2010 12:32pm

    That is so true!! I’ve lived in Austin all of my life and I could never understand how we have so many Democrats here but these freakin Republicans keep makin it in office! They made up some false scam and got Dawnna Dukes kicked out of the House yet she was for the people. Now all of these freakin KKK members from Wilco && there conspirators keep outvoting the democrats because we are a minority. The Republicans ever rigged the county lines to where they have the upper hand and will always win!! I HATE FREAKIN TX!!!!

  • roswil 07/20/2010 12:18pm

    To all those out there that consider themselves “Children of the Lord…”..lets remember that HE did not forsake us today…and HE will not forsake us tomorrow! Let’s rejoice in the blessing of extended benefits today…and although not all of us will find employment come November…let’s keep in mind the our Lord Jesus ALWAYs wins the War; not just the Battle! HE never promised us that we will not go through “tough times”…but…HE DID PROMISE US THAT IN THE END…OUR FAITH IN HIM WILL ALWAYS PREVIAL WITH BLESSING, AFTER BLESSING! “OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD..HE REIGNS!!”

  • carebear 07/20/2010 12:29pm

    The unemployment bill the senate passed today …does that also me they will restart seb or not??if anyone can answer this greatly appreciated

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 2:13pm

    Check your States Employment Departments website. They should be posting new press releases to help reduce the flood of calls they’ve been receiving.

  • dwcstmdznr 07/20/2010 12:30pm

    I am thankful that this is almost over, this time round. I will continue to check back here and keep informed of what is going on in congress. To be honest I learned about the working of our gov in civics 35 years ago and forgot it all as soon as I passed the class. I’ve had to relearn all this stuff and Mr Shaw and all of you have done a great in this re-education, and I thank you all. I would also like to suggest that EVERYONE of tries to buy products made in America by Americans. Maybe if we can do enough of this big companies will realise that moving out of the country wasn’t such a good thing. where it hurts, in the bank account.

  • taxthis 07/20/2010 12:32pm

    Dear Fellow americans here on this site. I feel terrible for all of you who are without ways and means to stay afloat. All of you no matter how long you have rcieved benefits. I have recieved benefits for 26 weeks. I only get 230 per week because 2 years previous to the layoff the boss cut my wage by 10 percent. ANOTHER GREEDY you know what. Pray that these people who voted nay ( why don’t they just say NO ) IDIOTS!! lose their job in the senate. Again this was just too important to block this issue for any reason. It showed where their HEARTS or lack of was. I wrote to my senators in Florida . Senator LeMieux will never get my vote again, no matter what his reason was to vote NAY (sounds like a horse). Now, my prayers are with all of you who they have stepped on. I have to go to the gas station and use my credit card to fill my lawnmower so the county govt does not fine me because my grass is too long. I am MAD!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    fa2010 07/20/2010 12:48pm

    Unfortunately LeMieux is retiring so we can’t vote him out. Guess he just doesn’t care b/c he has nothing to lose…

  • Comm_reply
    taxthis 07/20/2010 4:46pm

    Oh! thanks

  • seanurse 07/20/2010 12:32pm

    THANK GOD THEY PASSED THE FIRST STEP. PLEASE ENYONE ON THIS SITE WHO HAS BEEN FIGHTING FOR THIS BILL, PLEASE REMEMBER NOVEMBER. REGISTER TO VOTE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY AND WE HAVE A WHOLE MONTH TO COMMUNICATE ON SITES TO GET THE NEXT FIGHT GOING. WE NEED A TIER 5 AND ANOTHER EXTENSION PAST NOVEMBER AS THIS IS NOT GOING TO CORRECT ITSELF FOR 2-3 YEARS OR SO SAYS ALL BUSINESS REPORTERS. PLEASE WE NEED ASTRONG FIGHT FOR THE 99ERS OF WHICH IN SEPT I’LL BE PART OF ALONG WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHERS. THIS IS A TEMPORARY FIX. GOD I HOPE I CAN FIND A JOB SOON. WE NEED TO GET ALL 99ERS TOGETHER WITH US AND HAVE A BIG PROTEST. NOW WE WILL HOPEFULLY HAVE THE MONEY TO DO SO. I FOR ONE WILL NEVER BE COAUGHT OFF GUARD AGAIN BY THIS POLITICAL BULLSHIT. WHO IS WITH ME?? LETS FIGHT,FIGHT, FOR OUR COUNTRY AND OUR RIGHTS.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 2:04pm

    Is there a Tier 5 petition we all can sign? If so, please post it.

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/20/2010 2:56pm

    YES THERE ARE SEVERAL AND WE SHOULD ALL LINK UP BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT SITES. PLEASE GO TO CHANGE.ORG AND SIGN THE MANY PETITIONS UNDER THE POVERTY SECTION IS WHERE UNEMPLOYMENT PETITIONS ARE FOUND. THANKS AND I WILL POST AS MANY THINGS AS I CAN FIND.

  • gerryd 07/20/2010 12:38pm

    HELP HELP HELP DOES ANYONE KNOW IF I WILL STILL BE ABLE TO GET MY PENNSYLVANIA STATE EXTENDED BENEFITS MAIL CLAIMS WITH THIS PASSAGE? I AM SO CONFUSED. I RECEIVED 4 WEEKS SO FAR BUT AM NOT SURE IF THIS IS THE END OR IF I WILL GET THE REST OF THEM?? PLEASE HELP ME SLEEP A LITTLE BETTER TONIGHT – FOR ONE NIGHT AT LEAST????

  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 07/20/2010 12:57pm

    I’m not in Pennsylvania, but I think it applies to all states. The best thing
    to do is wait till you hear that the President has signed it and the next
    day call your local unemployment office. I know it’s not easy to be patient.
    My wife has been without for the last 6 weeks. Before that I had a mix up
    with my benefit and it took a month to correct. So we have had 10 weeks
    we could barely eat, and red slips from utility companies. I had to borrow
    from family to keep them on. Hopefully all this is straightened out in a
    week or less!
    Art LeDoux

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 2:01pm

    Which Tier are you on?

  • Comm_reply
    Cindy7 07/20/2010 5:14pm

    Gerryd, I live in the state of Pennsylvania. I’m going to Tier 4 and this will be my last tier of the EUI. I’ve been calling in to file every 2 weeks and the Reps been just taking my information and place it on hold. So, right now I’ve have 6 weeks of benefits on hold, which will be my last. Here is a number for you to call, 1(888)313-7284. I’ve never did the mail in claims. Hope this helps. Let me know how it works out for you, and if there is any of information you may need. Will be keeping you and everyone on this site in prayer. Prayer works!!

  • arosebunch22 07/20/2010 12:42pm

    thank god this has passed! we are nearly two months behind on our house payment! God bless all of those who did not stop until it passed!!!!!!!!

  • cjsmama01 07/20/2010 12:46pm

    I don’t know where this leaves me…I exhausted my 79 wks of UI on June 20th of this year. I have been furiously looking for work and there is NOTHING!!!! My state’s website right now states Extended Benefits (EB) are not currently payable after week ending June 6, 2010, even though your Benefit Payment History may show a remaining balance. Also, you are not currently able to move into a new Tier of EUC after week ending May 30, 2010. I currently show .50 as a remaining balance…lol. Do I qualify for this extension? I called and asked my state’s office and waited for over 45 minutes and got NO answer. They told me that this bill has no specifics and I would have to wait another couple of weeks to find out If I would get anything or not. I hate not Knowing If I can survive another day. I am a single mom of three young kids.It is very hard to put a roof over their head, keep them warm, and feed them everyday and not know what to tell them when they ask “why are you crying mommy”?

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 1:54pm

    What State are you in?

    I’m in the same situation in CA. My Tier 4 ended June 12th (I missed the FED-ED extension by one week). I have friends who are on their FED-ED extension (they receive claim forms, but no checks). I think the reason why I haven’t received claim forms is because I “technically” haven’t begun FED-ED. However, once HR 4213 is signed into law I believe I will be eligible for FED-ED because CA unemployment rate is above 12%.

    EDD is not answering my specific questions either (I think they just don’t know). The waiting game is hard, but I’m hoping to receive my claim forms next week.

  • strugglingdad 07/20/2010 12:56pm

    Okay i’m watching c-span and he said it would be extended to the end of the year. Did he just make a mistake in his speech?

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