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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 241-270 of 395 total comments.

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)

taxthis 07/20/2010 4:49pm
in reply to retched Jul 20, 2010 11:42am

Good luck and god bless you.

taxthis 07/20/2010 4:46pm
in reply to fa2010 Jul 20, 2010 12:48pm

Oh! thanks

kstiffler 07/20/2010 4:42pm

Finally!!!! Thank you Lord is about time but will not be real to me until I have check in hand. Please let things roll forward smoothly and let payments be sent out ASAP. My heart just the same goes out to the 99 weekers. When restored I will be starting my third tier so I am right around the corner from where you stand. God Bless you all!!!!!!!!

downandout 07/20/2010 4:42pm

Just checked the Texas unemployment website. There is a new statement which says the State of Texas will begin processing checks 7-10 days after Obama signs the bill into law. This is such BS. They could have been more prepared and had a lot of the prep work done beforehand. Those extra days can literally mean life or death for some people. I really hope this info is wrong.

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


ExGOP 07/20/2010 4:37pm
in reply to indimom2010 Jul 20, 2010 4:08pm


If you don’t feel comfortably filling out the claim forms the way you just stated, walk into your local Employment Department and they will help you fill out the forms. If HR 4213 becomes law, you will get retroactive pay for the weeks you didn’t work, and possibly partial UI pay for the partial week you worked.

ExGOP 07/20/2010 4:25pm
in reply to indimom2010 Jul 20, 2010 3:29pm

Yes. Congrats on your new job!

txgal68 07/20/2010 4:11pm

ok for us in Texas does that mean we get our tier 4 benefits?? I’m sooo confused..

indimom2010 07/20/2010 4:08pm

Ok so for the weeks I did not get pay they will give me retro pay and since I am now working just enter the amount I have made starting with last week when I received a job. I have not had a check since the end of may with unemployment I was waiting to start tier 3 when I this happened. If anyone knows this please let me know?

trynghard63 07/20/2010 4:03pm

Ok I went to Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Website and they dont have any new info on there. I guess I will just wait some more to find our anything. sigh………

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.

Kerlynne 07/20/2010 3:57pm
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 20, 2010 3:04pm

Abaratarr>>>> i know that the Tier 5 wasn’t in either of the bills but neither is the $25. I know Reid is the one that is causing the issues however I have always felt if they had just left things alone and voted on things for the UI back in May we would of been okay. WE took a pay cut of $100 a month for all of us and at this time NO hope of the Tier 5 unless they reintroduce another bill before November.

indimom2010 07/20/2010 3:53pm

indimom2010 07/20/2010 7:29pm Link Reply − + 0
Thank You ExGOP so I should claim I am now working and the will pay me the retro? IN the spot how much I earned put that in… and they will still give me the retro pay?

artledoux 07/20/2010 3:51pm
in reply to indimom2010 Jul 20, 2010 3:29pm

Just for the weeks that you actually worked. I don’t know what type of form
they will send you. Put the amount in for each week you worked. You may get
something for the week you worked 16 hours.
Art LeDoux

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.

taxthis 07/20/2010 3:45pm

I have never blogged or commented on anything in my life. This is my 4th time today. This situation that politicians have created for millions of americans is unprecedented in the history of our nation, yet the only people that truly… well, not the only people, I would hope there are people out there that are employed and I pray there are other people that have compassion for their fellow human beings. You are special if you do care. Thank you. This is very personal now. This money is not some special interest project. This is Food, Shelter and clothing to honorable, yes honorable americans. I will do everything non violent in my means to make every politician that no voted or changed the original laws life as a politician miserable. I am not at all like this, but they struck the wrong chord and I am offened by this . Heartless (ist amendment S.O.Bs. )

skrapper 07/20/2010 3:44pm

My guess was near 1/3 of the Country Totally Unemployed, and out of benefits.
That’s a lot of people, and it will still climb.

Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:35pm
in reply to skrapper Jul 20, 2010 3:10pm

You are correct sir. You are ONLY counted if you ARE collecting. Once that stops you dont matter

Abaratarrr 07/20/2010 3:34pm
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 20, 2010 3:08pm

did you not read the freaking news article i posted where the executive directer of Colorado unemployment is quoted as saying it will take 3-4 weeks! read the gad damn links before you comment.

now why don’t you tell everyone that the senate is voting on 5618 today, that is still your position isn’t it?

Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:34pm
in reply to skrapper Jul 20, 2010 3:18pm

try the mid 20%. I would guess 26%. Unemployment only counts the people who are collecting UI benefits. There are many more who did not qualify for benefits who are not counted. Many who have already exhausted benefits are not counted as well. If you factor in the undocumented workers the numbers continue to rise. So to avoid that yes they only count people who are “CURRENTLY” collecting

Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:30pm
in reply to indimom2010 Jul 20, 2010 3:14pm

you get paid from June 2nd 2010 till you started working. You may still bve able to claim if u made less than your UI payments. You just subtract what you made and get the balance. Example: UI pays $500. You made $250 working. You still collect $250.

indimom2010 07/20/2010 3:29pm

Thank You ExGOP so I should claim I am now working and the will pay me the retro? IN the spot how much I earned put that in… and they will still give me the retro pay?

Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:28pm
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 20, 2010 3:09pm

I went from 1st claim to tier 1 in a few days seamlessly. I have now gone 4.5 weeks without and payments. I do expect a few more weeks before they start my tier 2 and retro pay.

Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:26pm
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 20, 2010 3:08pm

Moving from one tier to another is one thing. Restarting a claim or starting a first claim does take 3-7 weeks. That part does not vary from state to state. Make sure you read first before you post.

ExGOP 07/20/2010 3:26pm
in reply to indimom2010 Jul 20, 2010 3:14pm

The bill is retroactive, so you should get the weeks you were unemployed.

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


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

No Republicans should be re-elected, except two.

skrapper 07/20/2010 3:18pm

Trust me,,, if all the people who were laid off were accounted for, do you really think Unemployment would be around 10% give or take a few percents.
What do you think it really would be at?

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