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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.

mkjking 07/21/2010 9:09am

Nancy Pelosi makes stupid look smart!

comments5647 07/21/2010 9:16am
in reply to MrHappy Jul 20, 2010 10:07am

It can’t be soon enough…

sruthj217 07/21/2010 8:03am
in reply to sruthj217 Jul 21, 2010 7:56am

NBFBM,

That may be true, but the reality is if the Senate can’t get 60 votes on any measure like this, they won’t pass anything else or will use that reason as an excuse.
There may be politics involved like this but you can’t deny many Republicans have come out publicly against passing the extension and many Dems have come out publicly for it.
We may be a small part of the voting block (much larger if you count temps and underemployed) but what else can we do? You only have two choices so I’m banking on the lesser of two evils.

Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 8:14am

bob casey is talking about UI on cspan2

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 8:33am
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 21, 2010 8:32am

I would like to see everything paid for and do not see what is wrong with using stimulus funds to pay for the extensions, but also if the dems are going to flat out refuse to pay for them I would think the republicans could make an exception to paygo for unemployment benefits.

But both side are posturing and playing politics nether party represents us.

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 8:39am
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 21, 2010 8:32am

It was coburn? the dude from Kentucky i think that proposed adding and paying for additional weeks by I thinktaking back money that was not used within two years for the purpose it was given, but he was also the person that threatened to block 4851 causing a gap in benefits for some.

they have the votes to help us if the leadership would quit playing games.

CJKell 07/21/2010 9:11am

happy for everyone but this still does not help the 99ers :(

downandout 07/21/2010 9:11am

Come on Reid, call for the vote already. Make the Rebublicans stand up and say no. JUST DO SOMETHING BESIDES WASTING TIME ALL AFTERNOON. WE CANNOT AFFORD FOR ANOTHER DAY TO GO BY WITHOUT THIS VOTE TAKING PLACE AND 9PM TONIGHT IS JUST LUDICROUS. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT LEAVING BEFORE THE VOTE IS TAKEN!!!! YOU CAN DO THAT MUCH FOR US.

trynghard63 07/21/2010 9:22am

I can think of many ways to put money back into the system. Starting with cutting thier pay, instead of them getting pay raises. Hasnt a lot of companys made thier employees take pay cuts? Yes they have, so should our government. Stop sending money over seas for wars, but we have money set aside to help foriegn orphans. Well we have Orphans here! We have homeless and hungry here. We have people without electricity.Stop saving the crooked big buisness and banks, that bail out money could have gone to us and that would have straightened out a lot. Oh and all of these big movie stars and rock stars and sports figures that throw Millions for aide to foriegn countrys but do nothing to raise money for the Americans, do you forget who your fans are that helped you to become so rich? My entire attitude has changed towards any of these people. GRRRRRR TY for letting me vent :o)

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.

trynghard63 07/21/2010 10:08am

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

ExGOP 07/21/2010 9:54am
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 21, 2010 9:27am

That’s what life insurance is for.

Congress enacted the Federal Estate Tax in 1916. The $600,000 exemption amount (that is before W’s administration started to gradually raise the exemption amount) was a hell of a lot of money back then. Congress needs to raise the estate exemption amount, and to make sure it keeps up with inflation. That way the truly rich would and should pay estate tax.

dwcstmdznr 07/21/2010 9:58am
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 21, 2010 9:27am

according to Sen Bernie Sanders repealing this tax would only benefit the top 3% of the wealthyist people in the country. It wouldn’t do anything for us at all. When my mother-in law passed a few years ago we inherated about $20,000 and had tp pay no tax on that amount

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 8:32am
in reply to sruthj217 Jul 21, 2010 8:03am

I for get his name but a republican proposed a couple months back that we could add additional weeks beyond 99 and pay for it by taking back funds congress has given to government agencies but that have not been used for what the money was allocated for for more then two years, he found over $100 billion that could provide 26 weeks for all the unemployed but the idea has been rejected, but the same republican also either blocked or threatened to block the extension 4851 which caused a gap in benefits for some, this is all just a big game to these people.

The republicans will vote for any unemployment bill that is paid for including a 5th tier we need someone to propose a 5th tier that is funded, that would pass.

The problem we face is that a passable bill will pass easily without conflict, that helps neither party in the upcoming election they need drama to motivate voters.

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

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

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:11am
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 21, 2010 11:09am

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

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 9:27am
in reply to dwcstmdznr Jul 21, 2010 8:58am

the inheritance tax is not 1-2% it is 55% tax on money that has already been taxed.

What it does is it destroys small farms, a farm or ranch family making $40-$60,000 a year might have land now valued at $5 million so when dad dies they family has to come up with $2.75 million in taxes or sale the farm to pay the taxes, how does someone making $40,000 come up with $2.75 million (55% of the land value) and even if they could borrow it does it make any since to borrow 2,75 million for a business that make you $40,000 a year.
the death tax is a bad bad thing.

A families livelihood should not be destroyed just because dad dies.

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:20am
in reply to trynghard63 Jul 21, 2010 11:15am

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.

trynghard63 07/21/2010 11:35am

AMEN Sen. Dorgan

mkjking 07/21/2010 11:36am

Just received the following from the Washington Post: Republicans delay vote on unemployment extension.

Right now, as we speak, Senate Republicans continue to file a bunch of motions that could delay the vote on extending unemployment benefits for as long as another day.

This is key: It’s a reminder that Republicans intend to continue to try to block the extension, unless its costs are offset, for as long as possible. Nobody is focused on this, but Republicans actually see a political upside for themselves in this standoff.

I’m told that Republicans are filing the motions because Senator Harry Reid says he doesn’t want to allow votes on amendments that are designed to offset the extension’s costs. Reid wants to proceed with the full vote. Senator Tom Coburn just filed a motion to suspend the rules, and Republicans are resolved to sit tight in hopes of forcing a vote on it.

Kerlynne 07/21/2010 11:40am
in reply to mkjking Jul 21, 2010 11:36am

ahhh,,, my thought as well. How can they vote on a bill when they have motion after motion has to be voted on before the bill. Someone make a motion to get us our extra $25 bucks back!!!

Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 11:40am

dorgon is the man you tell them shame shame oh if any of you has seen Idiocracy I believe that this may be how it starts

trynghard63 07/21/2010 11:41am

Oh my goodness…… this is entirely to much!Im thinking it is a good thing im not in Washington

Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 11:45am

hahaha dorgan just called them out on the “death tax” thats one i support

Kerlynne 07/21/2010 11:47am

outstanding using Will Rogers…. Dorgan you are all right.

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:48am
in reply to mkjking Jul 21, 2010 11:40am

that article is total BS, once Reid asked for a vote there was no objection. they are not forcing them to wait the 30 hours.

We all watched it live about 20 minutes ago.

widget02us 07/21/2010 12:24pm

No BrandiWY I am also stuffed!

fa2010 07/21/2010 1:08pm
in reply to seanurse Jul 21, 2010 12:35pm

We don’t need them. We only need 51 votes for this one and we have it w/o them!

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