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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 181-210 of 395 total comments.

gerryd 07/21/2010 4:28am
EXGOP YOU ARE VERY HELPFUL TO PEOPLE AND THANKS. HOW CAN I FIND OUT MY STATE’S RATE REGARDING IF I WAS STILL ELIGIBLE FOR THE EB BENEFITS THAT THEY CUT ME OFF OF AFTER GETTING 4 WEEKS OF THEM IN PENNSYLVANIA. I CALLED U/C AND THEY DID NOT KNOW THE RATE??? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE RATE SHOULD BE? I AM SO ABSOLUTELY SICK – PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, AND JUST MENTALLY DRAINED OVER WHAT THEY HAVE DONE ARE STILL DOING TO US. ALSO WHAT IS A 99ER?
Kerlynne 07/21/2010 4:27am
in reply to cavsruleall Jul 21, 2010 4:20am

Perhaps CAVSRULEALL…. but with the way it is now isn’t what we need.

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.

cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:23am
in reply to trynghard63 Jul 21, 2010 4:20am

They can’t vote until 9pm, tonight due to the 30hr wait. …sounds like the House or Representatives and President Obama may burn the midnight oil and wait up til then and get the bill passed tonight, even if it takes til 10-11pm.

cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:21am

Sorry, meant to say “infuriating” and “UNemployed.” Typos…

ExGOP 07/21/2010 4:21am

I want reporters out there to call them (the GOP) on it. I want to hear their lame excuse for stalling on this bill so I can get pissed off all over again. Are they sore losers or are they cold hearted bastards … or both?

trynghard63 07/21/2010 4:20am

Im really confused now, some people are saying they are going to wait 30 hours, the news on fox 6 is saying Obama is signing it today? Anyone else here from Alabama?

cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:20am
in reply to Kerlynne Jul 21, 2010 4:08am

It’ll pass. They only need 31 votes to actually pass the bill, as opposed to the 40 votes for the first vote to cease cloture. It’s a done deal, which makes it even more infuriated that most of the Republicans are throwing a temper tantrum by delaying it, if only by 30hrs. That’s 30 more hours that hard working, now employed Americans (Dem & Rep) are without their benefits, in addition to the many weeks, they’ve already endured. It’s akin to when we were kids, and your brother or sister asked you to pass something to them, so to be a brat, you set it down far away from them, to irk them. It’s cold, childish and abusive.

cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:09am
Link Reply
+ -2
in reply to understanding Jul 21, 2010 2:29am

understanding – I don’t think you understand what happened. The first bill the Democrats attempted to get passed was HR5618, which the Republicans blocked three separate times, so the Democrats were forced to produce a stripped down version of the bill, in order to get the two Republican senators from Maine, to compromise and cross the aisle and vote for the bill, which was needed to pass it. Once the recently deceased Senator Byrd’s replacement was sworn into office and his vote cast, THEN and ONLY then we they able to pass the bill, granted us our benefits.

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????

skrapper 07/21/2010 3:03am
Thank you for your e-mail to my office. I appreciate having the benefit of your thoughts.

Please know that this e-mail address is checked only periodically and as such is not the preferred method for communicating with me via e-mail. I encourage you to use the e-mail contact form on my website at http://www.house.gov/snyder/contact-form.shtml as the best way to communicate with me electronically.

“HERE IS YOUR MONEY BEING WASTED. I LIVE IN MICHIGAN NOT ARKANSAS. and THEY ARE CONTACTING ME. SO HERE IS THE EMAIL ADDRESS, FREEBEE BY ME.”

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.

skrapper 07/21/2010 2:33am
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm

You bet I signed it.

understanding 07/21/2010 2:29am
in reply to BullWinkle Jul 21, 2010 2:13am

It still gets to me that Sen. Reid would let H.R. 5618, a bill that is a standalone and has the words “Restoration” and “Emergency” in the name is allowed to languish when it was all set for a vote in the Senate. It is obvious he knew that it would pass. He just didn’t want to push it forward.

BullWinkle 07/21/2010 2:13am

IT IS NOW MY AMERICAN DUTY TO MAKE SURE I VOTE AGAINST EVERY REPUBLICAN IN EVERY ELECTION . ACCEPT FOR THE TWO THAT CROSSED THAT AISLE AND WENT AGAINST THE REST OF THERE PARTY BECAUSE THEY NEW THERE PARTY WAS IN THE WRONG . THEY WERE HEARD NOW FROM HERE ON LET THE TRUE AMERICANS BE HEARD THEY CHANGED OUR LIVES AND WE CAN CHANGE ALL THE REPUBLICANS LIVES COME VOTING TIME. (NEVER FORGET) AND PEOPLE DONT LAY BACK START WRITING LETTERS / EMAILS
NOVEMBER 30 IS NOT FAR OFF AND I DONT SEE IT GETTING ANY BETTER. LOOKS LIKE THEY ARE SETTING US UP TO NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE A GOOD CHRISTMAS FOR OUR CHILDREN.
SO DONT LET UP JUST BECAUSE THIS WAS PASSED KEEP HAMMERING THEM. STAY STRONG!!

tiamo4ever 07/21/2010 1:26am

Copy this list, if your senator is on it, and VOTE in November !
Lamar Alexander [B-TN]
Robert Bennett [B-UT]
Christopher Bond [B-MO]
Richard Burr [B-NC]
Saxby Chambliss [B-GA]
Thomas Coburn [B-OK]
Bob Corker [B-TN]
John Cornyn [B-TX]
John Ensign [B-NV]
Lindsey Graham [B-SC]
Charles Grassley [B-IA]
Judd Gregg [B-NH]
Orrin Hatch [B-UT]
Kay Hutchison [B-TX]
John Isakson [B-GA]
Jon Kyl [B-AZ]
Richard Lugar [B-IN]
John McCain [B-AZ]
Mitch McConnell [B-KY]
Lisa Murkowski [B-AK]
Ben Nelson [B-NE]
John Thune [B-SD]
George Voinovich [B-OH]

block4 07/21/2010 12:03am

I am still unsatisfied. I am happy to get the money, but still angry for the way myself and other unemployed Americans have been treated. I lost my job while I was on maternity leave for I child I put up for adoption. I got married in January and my husband lost his job that was funded by Obama’s stimulus funds. Not only did he lose his job, but he also now has no unemployment because his funds ran out. I only recieved $130 a week in which we had been living on since the end of April. I believe that the people in Washington should suffer as others of us have. I think they should have to live on nothing, lose everything they worked so hard to get and see what happens then! Shame on you, Washington, shame on you!

mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 11:48pm

I CAN’T BELIEVE THESE BASTARD REPBLICANS ARE HOLDING UP THE UI EXTENSION BILL AGAIN!!! THEY ARE HOLDING THE BILL FOR THE FULL 30hrs. Setting up the final vote for either late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. So instead of the President possibly signing the bill Wednesday afternoon it probably won’t be signed until Thursday. BEFORE ANYONE RESPONDS TO THIS COMMENT PLEASE GO TO YouTube AND TYPE IN THE SEARCH BOX “UPDATE Unemployment Extension ON HOLD AGAIN! JULY 20 2010” and PLEASE, PLEASE WATCH the WHOLE 2:53 video! We need to vote these UNCOMPASSIONATE ASS HOLES OUT!!!!!!!!!

ExGOP 07/20/2010 10:24pm
in reply to seanurse Jul 20, 2010 8:59pm

Here’s what CA EDD wrote regarding $25 stimulus …

“In addition, the new bill does not continue the subsidy for COBRA health coverage. It also does not allow for the $25 federal stimulus payment added to each week of unemployment benefits on any new claim filed after May 23, 2010. For any existing claims already receiving the extra $25 payments, those payments can continue until the customer runs out of benefits or until December, whichever comes first.”

This to me sounds like people on UI before May 23, 2010 will still get the extra $25, but those filing a new claim after May 23rd won’t. I wonder if they meant to say “new tier” instead of “new claim”? I guess I’ll find out next week when I get my letter and claim forms. I hope they’re right. It would be a pleasant surprise.

ExGOP 07/20/2010 10:01pm
in reply to seanurse Jul 20, 2010 8:59pm

Hi Seanurse:

1. In order to sway the two Republicans to cross the isle and vote with the Democrats, Reid had to compromise and trim (more like dissected) the costs. The cost of the bill is way way down from its original version.
2. I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s just an archaic rule. Stupid rule, huh?

P.S. Thanks for the change.org website. I will be re-posting my message daily. Try to get some sleep.

mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 9:35pm

HERE IS SOME MORE INFO!!!!The department has been maintaining a list of the remaining 255,000 of our affected customers. These are customers who ran out of either a regular UI claim or one of the four tiers of federal extension claims over the last several weeks. Some of these claimants have already received claim forms in the event Congress took further action. EDD will automatically file the next level of extension claim for the remainder of these customers. There is no need to contact the department. Staff will be working throughout the weekend so claim forms can be sent to these individuals next week.

Customers will receive claim forms in rapid succession over the next few weeks to complete quickly and send back to EDD. The department will issue checks for eligible weeks of unemployment until we are caught up on all retroactive weeks of benefits on these claims.

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.

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.

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.

shirlallen4 07/20/2010 8:50pm

Thanks Donny Shaw for keeping us up-to-date on the latest! I really found your website to be very Informative. I will definately keep visiting afterwards to stay in the know on what’s going on around me.
God Bless you!

shannwil 07/20/2010 8:49pm
in reply to cplstopstick Jul 20, 2010 7:51pm

I live in Indiana also and can’t wait to vote Lugar out.

shirlallen4 07/20/2010 8:48pm

Thanks Donny Shaw for keeping us up-to-date on the latest! I really found your website to be very Informative. I will definately keep visiting afterwards to stay in the know.
God Bless you!

shirlallen4 07/20/2010 8:40pm

Wow!! I continue to pray for us all, and much more for the 99ers. This is so crazy to me. How in the world do you take care of other countries, funding wars and crap, and not take care of home first? This is really amazing! I tell you what. If THIS don’t make you get on your knees, and pray nothing will! My people are w/out food, homes, cars, gas, etc,. And they continue to slow poke around…dude said, he had to use his credit card to buy gas for his lawnmower!! What in the hell have this world come to? Really unbelievable!! Not only that, we see that its been voted on once-passed, and we’re STILL wondering how long it will be b4 we see sunlight (checks issued). All I can say is DONT STOP PRAYING, AND DONT 4GET NOVEMBER! These folks gotta go!

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…

sruthj217 07/20/2010 8:33pm
in reply to Iamamerican33 Jul 20, 2010 8:12pm

I’ve watched Susan Collins on CSpan for years a first class Senator, she was one of the few Republican congressional leaders during the Bush administration that seemed to care at all about investigating the billions that were disappearing in fraud and no-bid contracts (Blackwater, Hallibuton etc) in Iraq. Olympia Snow also deserves credit here. They truly stood on principal above partisanship.

Why the Republicans would force a full 30 hour wait when further debate is already closed on the bill puzzles me. It almost seems as if they want to punish the unemployed to the very limits of their power, but surely that can’t be the case. :/ There must be some other reason. Perhaps they just want to irk the Democrats simply because they can (??).

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