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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 121-150 of 395 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/20/2010 3:06pm

    its all at ried’s discretion, he decides what and when a bill can be voted on.

  • Christine58 07/20/2010 2:19pm

    I forgot to add, I had seen on C-Span Senate channel that they were thinking about voting tonight. So now that has changed, right?

  • Comm_reply
    dwcstmdznr 07/20/2010 2:30pm

    Unless someone changes their mind and calls them back. The senate has adjourned till 9:30 tomorrow morn. If they insist on the full 30 hours they can’t vote till tomorrow night around 9.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 3:20pm

    SOB’s!

  • Jonapoo4u 07/20/2010 2:20pm

    just keep in mind dont just vote democrat on everything or you may wind up with sharron angle as you president/senator/govenor that bitch is wako texas crazy.just be smart about who you vote for

  • Comm_reply
    understanding 07/20/2010 2:30pm

    I have no idea if my benefits will be restored because I was on EB, so I am still stressed. Rent is looming.

    If I do get restored benefits and not living in a box by then, I will donate a little something to Donny’s site. Thanks Donny for your updates.

    We need to continue efforts for the 99ers.

  • Comm_reply
    Brian9 07/20/2010 3:22pm

    The Ried admendment to this bill restores EB, as long as your state still qualifies.

  • Kerlynne 07/20/2010 2:31pm

    As things stand now this is a hollow victory, first off it hasn’t been voted on in the house, they are going to wait the 30 hours and see who they can get to vote against it, and they haven’t approached the Tier V and have taken away the $25 a week stimulus. Could they write another bill to help this out?? Yes but will they?? Doubtful, somehow they won’t make time for it. All they have to do is vote no on this and it won’t happen till September.

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/20/2010 2:44pm

    Its one step at a time. To me this was a victory after many weeks. You have to think positive instead of negatively

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

    I understand what you are saying however, winning a “battle” doesn’t win our war. A bandaid won’t stop the wound from bleeding. WE have too look at the big picture. I am not negative but realistic. WE need jobs first and foremost. The government put out a policy that helped us survive ( barely ) and it was working, health care was being addressed ( cobra ) and we all sold items gave up homes lost cars etc but these last few years we have adjusted and now they want to take all that we have left, away again, with nothing to replace it but abject poverty. Perhaps being over 55 gives me a different view but this was a hollow victory.

  • Comm_reply
    gretr33 07/20/2010 5:40pm

    thier not gonna get 9 people to vote against it

  • Comm_reply
    gretr33 07/20/2010 5:42pm

    I mean 10

  • Christine58 07/20/2010 2:42pm

    How many votes does it take to pass this next vote?

  • Comm_reply
    dwcstmdznr 07/20/2010 2:47pm

    Just a simple majority, 51

  • pscoley1 07/20/2010 2:50pm

    I have read many articles saying that it could be up to a month before the unemployment offices around the country begin to cut checks?? Does anyone have any info on this?? I already have a claim established and I have been claiming every week I have been unemployed since being cut off… And they have my bank account in the system.. why should it take a month to get the ball rolling?? Dear Lord please say this isn’t true!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/20/2010 3:00pm

    historicly it has taken 3-7 weeks for people to start getting their money.

    I found this story were the executive directer of a a state unemployment office said this
    ""Within three or four weeks, we anticipate that we’ll have everyone paid who is retroactively owed funds," he said. "

    http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=144564&catid=339

    expect it to take a good month from the time the bill becomes law.

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/20/2010 3:08pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    You are wrong there. It took me 3 days to get to the next tier. It does depend on the state.Make sure you get your facts right before you post

  • Comm_reply
    Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:26pm

    Moving from one tier to another is one thing. Restarting a claim or starting a first claim does take 3-7 weeks. That part does not vary from state to state. Make sure you read first before you post.

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/20/2010 5:29pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I stated that I moved to a tier in my state. It only took 3 days to move for me. Here a claim thats started takes 7 to 10 business days not the 2-3 weeks that you state. Every state varies. So don’t come back at me . I am saying what my state does. I filed an initial claim and it took me a week here and so did several other people I know and it took 7-10 days and thats what I stated.

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/20/2010 3:34pm

    did you not read the freaking news article i posted where the executive directer of Colorado unemployment is quoted as saying it will take 3-4 weeks! read the gad damn links before you comment.

    now why don’t you tell everyone that the senate is voting on 5618 today, that is still your position isn’t it?

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/20/2010 5:32pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I read everything. Maybe you should get things straight. I noticed that you have been wrong as well.I stated “in my state”, so read before you have a fit!!!!! about things. You are too temperamental. Get it straight. Again, I said my state and each state varies.

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/20/2010 5:38pm

    By the way, I know which bill they voted on today. I never said any bill was my position. I didn’t care what bill they voted on as long as they helped the unemployed. You are a very angry person. Chill out!!!!!! You life will be easier if you do.

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 7:56am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    No I am not angry, I was just pointing out that you have a history of making stuff up, do I need to post a link of you telling people that reid was was allowing for a vote on 5618 when it was 4213 on the schedule.

    You were again giving people false information, I do not want to see people suffer by receiving bad information so i was simply pointing out that you have a history of providing misinformation.

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/21/2010 8:02am

    I was not giving anyone false information. I know you were in some respects. I can prove that I got mine in those days. I am done arguing with you and you stating I have given false info when I stated it was MY STATE!!!!! So go ahead and argue. I am just glad the unemployed got this bill passed.

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/20/2010 3:09pm

    When I went on to the next tier, iy took me 3 days for me to get my money. Just to let you know.

  • Comm_reply
    Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:28pm

    I went from 1st claim to tier 1 in a few days seamlessly. I have now gone 4.5 weeks without and payments. I do expect a few more weeks before they start my tier 2 and retro pay.

  • Comm_reply
    cplstopstick 07/20/2010 6:16pm

    I know in Indiana when I had to go back on unemployment in November after I was released from workmans comp and lost my job for an on the job injury, normally I could fill out a computerized voucher but I had to fill out a paper one where they told me that it could take up to 3 weeks to get a check but I think it was about within a week I had the pay so I guess it caries from state to state. They have posted on Indiana’s website that it would take 2 weeks to reprogram their computers but I think they say that just to have a cushion. If they were smart they would start the reprogramming since it looks clear so far that the bill will become law. But then again we are talking about government and look how long this fiasco has been drawn out

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/20/2010 6:33pm

    I agree. I have been filing on line in my state for 5 weeks now. I will be getting the back payas soon as it goes trough. Good luck with you!!!

  • Comm_reply
    cplstopstick 07/20/2010 7:44pm

    consider yourself lucky my friend I was cut off after Memorial Day and I haven’t been able to fill out vouchers along with several people I know. I can only hope Indiana can be quick on the reprogramming

  • gerryd 07/20/2010 2:55pm

    DEAR GOD ALMIGHTY – JUST READING ALL THIS CONFUSING STUFF IS MIND BOGGLING. NO MATTER HOW THEY VOTED TODAY THERE ARE SO MANY OF US WHO LITERALLY DO NOT KNOW IF WE WILL BE GETTING ANYTHING ELSE OR NOT – THOSE OF US ON STATE EXTENDED BENEFITS. HOW CAN THEY CONTINUE TO KEEP USING US A PAWNS AND BARTERING CHIPS AND REVEL IN THE TORMENT THEY HAVE CAUSED US? I HAVE LITERALLY LOST OVER 40 LBS. AND HAVE AN ULCER NOW DUE TO ALL OF THIS HORRIFIC, INHUMANE TREATMENT WE HAVE BEEN GETTING FROM SO MANY PEOPLE – BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS AS WELL!!! ALSO, COULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT A 99ER IS?? I DO NOT FEEL THE LEAST BIT HAPPY UNTIL I KNOW FOR SURE WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON!!!! I WATCH THEM ALL LAUGHING AND KIBITZING IN THEIR $3000 SUITS ETC., AND THEY ARE GETTING A REAL THRILL OUT OF TORMENTING US I TRULY DO BELIEVE. OH GOD, I HOPE EVERY ONE REMEMBERS THESES DAYS COME NOVEMBER!!!!!

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