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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 211-240 of 395 total comments.

Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 12:46pm

we should make a movie about this and put it on lifetime.or we can make a reality show called go crazy because you lost everything and blow up senators show

dwcstmdznr 07/21/2010 1:07pm
in reply to dwcstmdznr Jul 21, 2010 1:07pm

I know, Mel Gibson!

skrapper 07/21/2010 1:28pm
in reply to shantely Jul 20, 2010 12:13pm

I am one of the 99ers too.
Just remember what J.F.K. said, and then send this on to your senators. They need a refreser course.
“THE WORLDS BEST WELFARE REFORM,,, IS A GOOD PAYING JOB.

bobbybixler 07/21/2010 2:47pm
in reply to HGAH_7 Jul 20, 2010 10:02am

Before you get too excited (and I’m in the same boat), just remember that it only goes to November, and most the jobs lost are NOT coming back according to most economists. Companies are content with working people 60-80 hours a week now and keeping the profits (read not investing). Plus, most of the jobs are being offset by technology, outsourcing overseas, shift in what people are buying, etc. I shudder at what is coming for most of us by the end of the year. Use your money wisely people, use it wisely. God help us all…we are about to enter the land of the haves and the have nots, just like most third world countries.

cplstopstick 07/20/2010 7:44pm
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 20, 2010 6:33pm

consider yourself lucky my friend I was cut off after Memorial Day and I haven’t been able to fill out vouchers along with several people I know. I can only hope Indiana can be quick on the reprogramming

James1980 07/20/2010 2:14pm

The week of June 15th was week 79 for me. I’m just confused: Does that mean I don’t get 20 more weeks (or retroactive payment for the last 6 weeks)?

amashoosier08 07/20/2010 1:40pm

correction to my post I meant UI entension bill

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.

Brian9 07/20/2010 1:32pm

This is really confusing because there are two bills out there. H.R. 5618 and H.R 4213, which if I am correct is the one that passed. But reading the bill and then reading news reports I seem to find a mixture of the two bills. Does this bill extend the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provisions such as COBRA, the extra $25 per week and funding for the state/federal EB programs ? Is the new deadline Nov 30th or Dec 31st ?

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:51am
in reply to mkjking Jul 21, 2010 11:36am

again BS reid asked that debate be limited to 40 minutes from each party and said that the Republicans could use some of the democrat time if they wanted it. The republicans agreed, it would have only taken one senator to demand they wit the 30 hours.

http://www.cspan.org/Watch/C-SPAN2.aspx

trynghard63 07/21/2010 11:53am

Next election I am so sure session and shelby wont be holding an office.

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 11:53am
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 21, 2010 11:51am

correction 20 minutes from each party but reid said the republicans could use democrat time to speed things along.

understanding 07/21/2010 4:39am
in reply to gerryd Jul 21, 2010 4:28am

In a twitter tweet:

Senate Majority Ldr Reid: 9 pm EDT vote on final passage of unemployment benefits extension, unless deal reached w/ GOP to yield back time.

understanding 07/21/2010 4:42am
in reply to understanding Jul 21, 2010 4:39am

Cavsruleall, thanks for the clarification if this is the case. After all the changes and name changes, it is hard to know what’s in it.

gerryd 07/20/2010 12:38pm

HELP HELP HELP DOES ANYONE KNOW IF I WILL STILL BE ABLE TO GET MY PENNSYLVANIA STATE EXTENDED BENEFITS MAIL CLAIMS WITH THIS PASSAGE? I AM SO CONFUSED. I RECEIVED 4 WEEKS SO FAR BUT AM NOT SURE IF THIS IS THE END OR IF I WILL GET THE REST OF THEM?? PLEASE HELP ME SLEEP A LITTLE BETTER TONIGHT – FOR ONE NIGHT AT LEAST????

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 1:23pm
in reply to Jonapoo4u Jul 21, 2010 12:24pm

do you not read before you post. they do not have to ride the clock they are going with what Reid ( a democrate) proposed without objection. they are not enforcing the 30 hour rule, they could have pushed this out to next week.

understanding 07/21/2010 4:55am
in reply to understanding Jul 21, 2010 4:39am

In another tweet:

White House awaits final action Congressional action on #unemployment benefits. Pres.Obama to sign it SOON after passage.

cavsruleall 07/21/2010 5:01am
in reply to understanding Jul 21, 2010 4:42am

No problem. Everyone helping each other out and networking online has been a key element to letting our voices be heard by most of those cold, hearted Republicans in the Senate, save the two Maine Rep Senators, who voted for the bill. This is a very sad time for my beloved country. They should be ashamed of themselves.

cavsruleall 07/21/2010 4:59am
in reply to ExGOP Jul 21, 2010 4:21am

Both.

skrapper 07/21/2010 5:06am

By the way that 211# is a HAND UP not a HAND OUT.

ExGOP 07/21/2010 5:19am
in reply to cavsruleall Jul 21, 2010 4:59am

YOUR REPLY IS INCORRECT. HR 5618 WAS NEVER VOTED ON IN THE SENATE. THE HOUSE PASSED IT ON JUNE 29TH (JUST BEFORE THE 4TH OF JULY) DUE TO THE FILIBUSTERING IN THE SENATE REGARDING HR 4213.

BrandiWY 07/21/2010 11:54am

I understood it as they need 67 votes to be allowed to make amendments (republican’ts).

carebear 07/20/2010 12:29pm

The unemployment bill the senate passed today …does that also me they will restart seb or not??if anyone can answer this greatly appreciated

Jonapoo4u 07/20/2010 12:10pm

back when i still had my house in florida before i lost my job my neibor lost his job he is a 99er i never seen him work or look for work he spent everybit of his money every week buying beer its people like him that made us look bad

strugglingdad 07/20/2010 12:56pm

Okay i’m watching c-span and he said it would be extended to the end of the year. Did he just make a mistake in his speech?

mjh 07/20/2010 12:01pm

In the part that reads, “Including payments in all new tiers” with regards to the FAC, does this then mean to everyone that anybody about to start a new or next tier , meaning tier 2, 3, and/or 4 (or EB) will NOT get the $25.00 or does this refer to ‘payments in tiers’ as being those who would be starting a tier 1 for the first time??

HoustonTx25 07/20/2010 11:46am

Finally, WE HAVE FOOD TO FEED OUR FAMILIES, PAY BILLS, AND DO SOME SMALL BUSINESS. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING FELLAS. STILL, WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THE PEOPLE WHO DIDNT VOTED FOR THIS BILL. THE GOP SENATORS, THEY SHALL ALL BE OUT IN NOVEMBER. MY STATE SENATORS LIKE HUTCHISON AND CORNYN OF TEXAS. I FEEL VERY EMBARASSED BY THIER DECISIONS. THEY DONOT EMBODIED AMERICAN PEOPLE AS ONE BECAUSE THEY ARE WORRIED IN SOME DEFICITS, PEOPLE WE KNEW HOW BUSH ADMINISTRATION HELP THE UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE AND REPUBLICANS HELP THE UNEMPLOYED AND NOT SEE IN OBAMAS ADMIN. THANKS HALLELUYAH! GOD HEAR OUR CRYS IN OUR HEART.

taxthis 07/20/2010 11:34am
in reply to trynghard63 Jul 20, 2010 11:26am

I am with you and all americans that are suffering. And all of the 99ers, don’t be dismayed, you will get extended. It would be an abomination if they do not help everyone. Start up the foundrys again that built the steel to build this nation. Bring back the t extile mills that made our clothes and fabrics. Why should any other country make our military uniforms. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!

dwcstmdznr 07/21/2010 6:27am
in reply to mikes1lakerfan Jul 21, 2010 5:43am

Probably more like FRI. figure it passes the senate tonihjt, I doubt it’ll make it to the house till tomorrow. House passes thurs, get to Obama fri

Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 11:55am

they’ve held firm so far i dont see this passing and then they will water the bill till it is no longer viable to the working or middle class or atleast make the dems pay for it with stim money

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