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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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Displaying 61-90 of 395 total comments.

Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 8:59pm
in reply to sruthj217 Jul 20, 2010 8:33pm

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.

dlharris1189 07/20/2010 12:32pm
in reply to HoustonTx25 Jul 20, 2010 12:14pm

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!!!!

taxthis 07/20/2010 6:19pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm
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
Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:18am
in reply to trynghard63 Jul 20, 2010 10:56am

Agreed, I called my phone Company the other day and I specifically asked where I was calling and he replied “the Phillipines”. I even felt a need to say something to him regarding how our Country is unbelievable and that here I am unemployed and calling a California based company’s help line located in the Phillipines. I must say, it’s an outrage and needs to be stopped. I think the Companies that are outsourcing any work should be fined heavily for it! That will pay down the debt real fast!!!

skrapper 07/21/2010 2:44am
in reply to shirlallen4 Jul 20, 2010 8:40pm

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.

taxthis 07/20/2010 4:41pm
in reply to skrapper Jul 20, 2010 3:51pm


ExGOP 07/20/2010 4:51pm


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)

peterr 07/20/2010 12:17pm
in reply to teajay33 Jul 20, 2010 10:03am


ExGOP 07/20/2010 5:41pm

To my fellow unemployed Americans …

Please sign the petition at the following site:

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.

ToniB23 07/20/2010 1:44pm

Thank God that we have some victory today. Now I think that we should continue to blast off and send the republican emails and call their offices so that the UI benefit will continue beyond 99 weeks. The American People are in need. I understand that the Republicans are concerned about how it will be paid for but they too can come up with a solution instead of being so stone face and saying No to so many that are need of help. I remember when little Bush was in office and he boomed Afghanistan, then told all of America that the soldiers had to remain there and we had to help rebuild their country. Well I have a question for all the Republicans and the 1 Democratic that voted no today when are you going to start helping rebuild America and invest in you own country? They have no problem funding the war in Iraq but when it comes to the American People who have worked most of their lives the have not problem telling us no. I felt like one of those late night feed the children Commercials.

peterr 07/20/2010 12:09pm
in reply to RichardStone Jul 20, 2010 10:04am

BERNIE MADOFF AIN’T got S@#$ on some of the games the people we have IN OUR GOVERNMENT, GO FIGURE….

Reader12 07/20/2010 1:59pm

>>Harry Reid is talking on C-span now. Vote will not be till tomorrow because Republicans are making wait the full 30 hours to vote on it A___wipes >>

wow, their heartlessness apparently knows no bounds.
Maybe they can call their banker lobbyist buddies to see if they can squeeze in a farewell round of evictions during that time……..

firestorm145 07/20/2010 2:44pm
in reply to Kerlynne Jul 20, 2010 2:31pm

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

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.

ExGOP 07/20/2010 1:54pm
in reply to cjsmama01 Jul 20, 2010 12:46pm

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.

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!!!!!!!!

taxthis 07/20/2010 11:15am
in reply to RichardStone Jul 20, 2010 10:04am

I think: I agree with you so much. These people could care less about one another , you ,or me. The games people play now,every night and every day now, never meaning what they say now ,never saying what they mean. Remember?

skrapper 07/20/2010 3:51pm

Make a difference when you vote this November.
Let them see that the people are tired of who’s pocket their hands are in. They are suppose to work for us, and represent us. I don’t see much of that happening.
Just a lot of sorrow while they get richer.
Make a difference at the polls.

Abaratarrr 07/20/2010 3:00pm
in reply to pscoley1 Jul 20, 2010 2:50pm

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. "

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

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????

dennypccc1 07/21/2010 6:46am

So I understand this, because they lost the repliloosers want to just sit dig it in while millions of Americans are in desperation. They talk about the next generation paying for the bill, I cannot feed my son, he will be living on the streets in poverty NOW. God Bless the good senators who have fought this. I wish I could get up there right now, go to cspan and look there is noone there, it’s empty. We are paying for these guys to do what. This is all so unreal

PPearson 07/20/2010 10:08am

Finally! It is good to finally get this on the road to being resolved. It is a shame about the abandonment of the COBRA assistance. That has been a real lifeline for so many. The damage that has been done by this Republican fiasco will leave scars for years. People have lost too much while Nero fiddled. I only hope that people remember at election time.

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.

Kerlynne 07/21/2010 4:23am
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 20, 2010 2:44pm

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.

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!

Brian9 07/20/2010 3:19pm
in reply to skrapper Jul 20, 2010 1:39pm

No Republicans should be re-elected, except two.

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
Brian9 07/20/2010 3:22pm
in reply to understanding Jul 20, 2010 2:30pm

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

ExGOP 07/20/2010 3:20pm
in reply to dwcstmdznr Jul 20, 2010 2:30pm


mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 11:47am

Any unemployed person who has been following & effected by this whole issue and post comments on this site, if you have stopped voting or have never voted before, do you now understand why it is so important to get out and vote!! REMEMBER come NOVEMBER!!!!!

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