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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 91-120 of 395 total comments.

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!!!!!

peytonsplace007 07/20/2010 7:56pm

This is good news! BUT…are they really going to go the whole 30 hours and not give the final vote until around 9pm Wednesday? Reid seemed pretty certain in his closing before adjournment that the Republicans were going to drag this out the entire cloture period.

Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 8:12pm

I forgot to remember that two Republicans do have common sense and decency. Susan Collin and Olympia Snow of Maine. Thank you ladies for your reasoning in this matter. I do believe that the guy Brown (who replaced our beloved Ted Kennedy) has a heart. He just had to listen to it.

understanding 07/20/2010 2:30pm
in reply to Jonapoo4u Jul 20, 2010 2:20pm

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.

Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 8:39pm

We, as common sense Americans have to keep our heads and use our votes to change the horizon we are looking at. By voting out our Republican Senators that are so obviously only concerned for themselves this can become a reality. Be it Republicans or Democrates …we need to pay more attention to their voting records and when we see that the selfish Washington plague has embedded itself in them… know it is time for them to give their seats to the new, fresh, young minds of decent American men and women who would love a chance to show what bi-partisanism looks and feels like. Age is not a bad thing but younger minds have fresher views and understandings of needed change and the ability to be able to progress with the times. To serve and learn and take our country into the future with their knowledge of how things really are. Being still “in touch” with the modern America and being mentored by the few decent elders of our Senate and our Congress, change can happen…

cplstopstick 07/20/2010 7:51pm

Well the only one I can vote out on that list is Lugar and hes not up until 2012. I hope people in Indiana don’t forget his part in screwing millions of us over come his election cycle! I certainly wont

seanurse 07/20/2010 8:25pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm

GOOD JOB EXGOP . SOMEONE ACTUALLY PASSING ON THE INFO POSTED EARLIER. PLEASE POST OFTEN SO EVERYONE GETS ON THE BAND WAGON. WE MUST START TO FIGHT NOW AS NOVEMBER IS AROUND THE CORNER AND I SURELY DONT WANT A BLAH CHRISTMEAS FOR THE CHILDREN AGAIN. WE ALL HAVE LOST ENOUGH. ITS TIME THE HIGHER UPS LOST SOME OF THERE FANCY THINGS. KEEP THE FAITH AND SIGN PETITIONS AT CHANGE.ORG

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.

JobRobbed 07/20/2010 10:26am

Even though it appears the unemployment insurance extension bill will finally pass, let’s not forget how many Senate Republicans & one Sen. Ben Nelson(D) voted against hard working, tax paying Americans when it came down to our modest bailout. Thank you!

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

cplstopstick 07/20/2010 6:16pm
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 20, 2010 3:09pm

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

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!!!!

desperatentx 07/20/2010 11:23am
in reply to Ktula7 Jul 20, 2010 11:14am

Ktula…i completely agree!!! God forbid we fall right back into the situation. i will continue to pray for everyone. there is no way any of us can forget who stalled this and made the average person become someone theyve never been before!!

taxthis 07/20/2010 6:42pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm

Done, thank you,exgop

Cindy7 07/20/2010 5:14pm
in reply to gerryd Jul 20, 2010 12:38pm

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!!

Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:19am
in reply to mikes1lakerfan Jul 20, 2010 10:42am

You are right…I’ll be here in full support!

indimom2010 07/20/2010 5:21pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 4:37pm

Thank You ExGOP you have been a lot of help. I will fill out the forms when they get them uploaded I really could use the retro pay. I can’t miss work I have just started a job.It is good to see people helping each other during this trying …hard times….Thanks Again and God Bless You

sruthj217 07/20/2010 11:33am

Please do not forget to send emails of thanks to the Democratic leadership and to the two Republicans who voted yes on this closure!

I think that the Republican majority may be surprised this fall and not pick up the seats as they expect. They certainly haven’t earned them in my opinion. Many of their own people were out of work and went through this ordeal will remember what happened here this past month!

Kerlynne 07/20/2010 2:23pm
in reply to James1980 Jul 20, 2010 2:14pm

WHAT IT MEANS JAMES1980>> that in the end we still lost to the Republicans. NO Stimulus of $25 a week. and no extra tiers. Even though we may get the UI we all took a pay cut of $100 a month and shortened our contract….. whoppeeee

katori81 07/20/2010 10:07am

YAY!!!!!!!!!!

dwcstmdznr 07/20/2010 1:55pm

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

dwcstmdznr 07/20/2010 2:30pm
in reply to Christine58 Jul 20, 2010 2:19pm

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.

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!!!!!

indimom2010 07/20/2010 6:12pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm

Done… I signed it…we all need to do this.

pscoley1 07/20/2010 2:59pm

Can we sue the GOP with a class action lawsuit for all the pain and anguish??? This is not humane!!! or maybe we should just show up at their house for dinner! WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!

gmissladyg 07/20/2010 1:34pm
in reply to Blesed90 Jul 20, 2010 1:29pm

Hi Blesed90, I would like to help you with diapers, bibs, or even formula. You can email me at mzgka@yahoo.com.

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.

Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:21am
in reply to OnlyinAmerica Jul 20, 2010 10:39am

The next vote only requires 51 votes so it should pretty much be over at this point I’m pretty sure. I think the only thing that the Republicans can do now is stall us for another 30 hours or so. And if they do, I will take it personally for sure! Congress is already expecting the bill at their doorstep and is ready to sign it and then off the President Obama. It has the potential of being passed as early as Wednesday. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. We’ve waited long enough!

taxthis 07/20/2010 4:01pm

If I could ring the phone constantly until every politician that voted against this would quit their job I would. If I could bother them constantly so they could not even enjoy one mouthful of food , I would. Am I wrong in feeling this way? I am Angry at these people, I don’t care what their reason was for voting no. U.S. Navy veteran, honorably discharged, Father of 26,25,14 year old. Grandfather of 10 week old, unemployed. I am MAD.

Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:14am

It’s true…There is still work to be done, so for those of us that feel the victory, by all means, smile and feel relieved. But also, please be back tomorrow and the next day, and so on. There are those of us that are still due a payment and will receive weekly payments like myself. But there are those of us that have run out and are still feeling the stress that we have all been going through in these past weeks that will continue to feel unless something is done. So for their sake, and potentially ours, let us still stand together and fight for those that are still fighting, the 99r’s. They still need our help and we may be one of them someday soon. And please, do not forget those Senators that voted no to helping us survive. Never forget them like they forgot us…United we stand, divided we fall!!

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