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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 301-330 of 395 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    dwcstmdznr 07/21/2010 9:49am

    Don’t know but I keep seeing blurbs about a bailout. Don’t know if it’s true orn just advertising or something. That’s why i asked

  • ExGOP 07/21/2010 9:35am

    Today, I received a packet from the CA EDD.

    At first glance, I thought “WOW” they’re fast and on top of the situation. In my packet was a “Notice of Unemployment Insurance Claim Filed” effective 7/4/2010 and a “Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award” with a maximum benefit amount of $0. I never filed a claim on July 4th, and I qualify for EB that I haven’t “technically” started.

    Expect computer glitches people.

  • rufusjuice 07/21/2010 9:57am

    Virginia Foxx of North Carolina is an idiot. Is anybody watching her speak on cspan? She reminds me of “church lady” on Saturday Night Live.

  • Comm_reply
    jkbrink 07/21/2010 10:02am

    I agree, She makes me sick just listening to her BS!!

  • mkjking 07/21/2010 10:05am

    What irritated me is that they all stood around, talking to one another, and took 35 minutes to vote yesterday. If WE had done that at work, WE would have been fired!!!

  • trynghard63 07/21/2010 10:08am

    We need to fire them! And we will come Election time!

  • firestorm145 07/21/2010 10:34am

    Listen to tom coburn hes being unreal.

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 10:44am

    coburn and sherrod brown are the only ones in Washington that I am aware of that has talked about extending unemployment beyond 99 weeks.

    Why can they not work together, you would think they could come up with a compromise and get the votes.

    It makes no since Coburn and brown both want the same thing but are to stupid and stubborn to work together because they are in different parties.

  • Comm_reply
    firestorm145 07/21/2010 10:45am

    I agree.

  • firestorm145 07/21/2010 10:39am

    I did not hear coburn say anything about the money that was sent over to other countries that don’t need to be.Like for the war.

  • dwcstmdznr 07/21/2010 10:48am

    talk about hot air……………………

  • Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 10:49am

    they are voting in the house of reps right now 1 of 2 votes they have to do

  • Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 10:51am

    looks like we might win its a close one this is why 30 hours were needed

  • Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 11:03am

    fuck yea we got this in the bag guys house 1st vote 233 ya 183 nay

  • Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:04am

    easyly passed the house, said they could vote for final passage in the house this afternoon.

    I looked like every republican and only 14 democrats voted again suspending the rules so that they could vote to pass 4213 this afternoon without debate.

  • Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:09am

    reid just asked for a vote for 4213

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:11am

    there was no objection they should be able to vote in about an hour. It is guaranteed to pass.

  • Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 11:09am

    i think they are fixing to vote UI not sure

  • BullWinkle 07/21/2010 11:11am

    I HOPE THEY DO SOMETHING FOR THE 99ERS ALSO I AM NOT IN THAT BOAT BUT THEY ARE BEING MISSED HERE AND THE HOLE PROBLEM IS THERE IS LITTLE OR NO JOBS SO THEY ARE IN DEEP SHIT ALSO AND NEED AN EXTENSION FOR THEM TO . THEY HAVE CHILDREN . BILLS ETC.. JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, SO WHAT ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO DO NOW? HOW ARE THEY TO PROVIDE FOR THERE FAMILIES? I GUESS THE GOVERNMENT REALLY DOESNT CARE! I SUPPORT ALL AMERICANS ? WHO CARES ABOUT THE DEBT TAKE CARE OF YOUR PEOPLE!!! PRINT THAT MONEY SO THESE AMERICANS CAN EAT!! WHAT HAPPENED TO THIS WORLD????

  • Kerlynne 07/21/2010 11:11am

    I have to say Coburn was making some sense in other ways to save/pay for items. I don’t think that he came with any conclusions on how we go do it now. I think they need to look at but AFTER they vote on the unemployment bill. Great Reid just as for them to stop talking so much… ha ha

  • dwcstmdznr 07/21/2010 11:13am

    they keep talking about passing debt onto our kids, but in some cases if we don’t get help now our kids might notv make it either

  • trynghard63 07/21/2010 11:15am

    Sen Scott Brown is really making my blood pressure go up. Is he trying to stop this from passing?

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:20am

    no, he can’t stop this from passing, but he his trying to get an amendment added that pays for the bill without borrowing the money from china. He is wasting his breath.

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/21/2010 11:24am

    so these “motions” are amendments to the bill then???

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:32am

    yes, the senate will vote for each motion to be added to 4213 pass or fail after the amendments are voted on they will vote for and pass 4213.

    The minority party only gets to talk when debating current legislation so they will also use the debate period for 4213 (thinks it only like 40 minutes) to talk about other things unrelated to 4213 because it is the only time the minority gets to talk.

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/21/2010 11:36am

    Isn’t that what Reid do is ask for them to keep it down to 20 minutes?? So each motion they entered will get voted on and then the bill?? Okay…. thanks for the insight!!

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:21am

    i believe they are going to try to vote on 4 potential amendments then vote to pass 4213.

  • Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 11:21am

    he is indeed trying to stop this from passing to get the dems to pay for it with stimulus

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:28am

    if he was trying to stop it from passing or slow it down he could have objected when Reid asked for a vote and forced them to wait the whole 30 hours.

  • trynghard63 07/21/2010 11:21am

    ty Abaratarrr it was making me nervous!

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