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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 1-30 of 395 total comments.

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becauseican 02/08/2012 11:46am

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widget02us 07/22/2010 6:53am

Sign the petition for the 99ers to get their benefits!

There are families who need our support!

wes00 07/22/2010 12:20am

Hey all..for the first time in a month and a half…I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. To answer someone that had commented earlier. I am also from NY..and My benefits were also cut off at 81 weeks, 1 week into EB, on June 2. EB and EUC will be extended in this bill, 99 weeks the max, though the amount of weeks may vary from state to state.(After Aug. 16th there will be NO MORE Tier 4(6 weeks)for NYS) Like I mentioned before.. I am from NYC where the unemployment rate is 9.6% and for the state its 8.5%. Under New York State Unemployment law, u are able to collect the first 13 weeks of EB only if you have exhausted all other benefits..UI and EUC AND the unemployment rate in the state is 6.5% or higher..You then might be able to the get the remaining 6 week only if the Unemployment rate is 8& or higher. I urge you read your state Labor Website so u can have a better understanding for YOUR state.

in reply to bobbybixler Jul 21, 2010 2:47pm

It seems like a moot point for this extension when eventually most of us will become 99ers come a few short months from now but my mother who is a retired and is 75 years old (I am unemployed single mom living with her parent) made an interesting point. She thinks that Obama will probably present additional(s) extension that will come out of the Federal monies and not monies that will arguable :)lol come from monies that would add to the defict that all the Republicans have been screaming about.

BreeLane 07/21/2010 9:20pm
in reply to cplstopstick Jul 21, 2010 6:34pm

I called yesterday to certify. My certification was approved. That means when the bill is signed into law, my check will be deposited into my bank account. Normally the money would show up in my account the very next day. I don’t think payments are going out immediately since my payment didn’t show up today. I just pray that it comes in by the end of next week (hopefully before) because I really need it.

buffalou 07/21/2010 9:02pm

Congrats to those who will benefit from this legislation! I’m a 99er & what I really think is that by the end of the year most all of the unemployed will STILL be unemployed. The only difference will be that the unemployment rate will be hugely improved because unemployed people don’t count unless they’re collecting benefits. Every one of us is on their way to being a 99er or you’re already there. Need I point out that if Congress can ignore a 99er now, they can do exactly the same thing at the end of the year. Looks to me like this could get ugly.

Found this outstanding article about the 99ers:

Revolution 07/21/2010 8:21pm

VOTE HIM OUT!!! First chance to send a message to these idiots!
Tom Coburn-Republican from Oklahoma is asking people on his Face Book page to change their profile picture in support of his primary election and vote on 7/27. Please stop by and remind him of how he voted on unemployment-he needs to be unemployed soon!

cplstopstick 07/21/2010 6:34pm

I read on Indiana’s website a little bit ago that they said that it would take 2 weeks just reprogram the computers. I just heard on the local news that most likely next week the retro payments will reach the unemployed. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong I dont want to stir the pot but I also thought that I heard that the government had told the states to have their unemployment systemd already programmed for teh passage of the bill so that payments would go out immediately. Does anyone have any idea about this? Again I don’t want to stir the pot with bad information but I am curious if there is any faint truth to what I may have heard. I like all of us need all this now so we can eat and pay our bills. Thanks everyone

MATHSMOM 07/21/2010 6:04pm
in reply to sruthj217 Jul 20, 2010 11:33am

Yes I agree the Repubs and Dems should have worked better on this bill together. I think the Repubs should have come up with an idea if they didn’t want to put this country in more debt. I can see lots of ways they could have done that like cutting out silly things money goes for. However, I am not willing to vote for dems to ruin this country further. I am not willing to vote for ppl who do not respect the sanctity of marriage and pro-abortion believers and so on. I think we need to throw out ALL of the senators and the house (dems and repubs)and start over fresh! God help this country!

MATHSMOM 07/21/2010 5:55pm
in reply to bwcox Jul 20, 2010 11:31am

Yes! Thanks you! I would have no idea what was going on with out these reports!

MATHSMOM 07/21/2010 5:55pm
in reply to taxthis Jul 20, 2010 11:34am

YES! WAKE UP AMERICA! MY Pastor has been having WAKE UP AMERICA Rallies for about a year now. Check it out and see why our country is in the shape it is in.

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.

CaptainPointless 07/21/2010 2:13pm

First one to post after HR4213 has been passed through Senate!!! We’re finally getting somewhere, people. I just hope it’s soon enough for some people not to lose their homes.

skrapper 07/21/2010 1:41pm
in reply to proudtobehiswife Jul 20, 2010 7:28pm

Unemployment is based on checks or calls for your Unemployment. The people working there tell you if you qualify or not. If you don’t “exhausted benefits.” then your not counted.
Very simple equation.

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.

Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 1:26pm

yeah and the name would be IU gone wild

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.

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 1:20pm
in reply to seanurse Jul 21, 2010 12:35pm

there was nothing bad about any of those amendments, they just let the senators shows were they stand on the individual issues so people can vote responsibly, several democrats voted yes for some of those amendments. In the past the first amendment proposed received support from 100% of the democrats in the senate.

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!

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

I know, Mel Gibson!

dwcstmdznr 07/21/2010 1:07pm
in reply to Jonapoo4u Jul 21, 2010 12:46pm

and who would play the crazy unemployed bomber?

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

seanurse 07/21/2010 12:35pm

is anyone else hearing that collins and snow are voting for all these amendments to 4213. i hope they havn’t changed there votes for the bill passing. im getting a little worried now. would have much rathered they voted against all those amendments.

firestorm145 07/21/2010 12:30pm
in reply to jkbrink Jul 21, 2010 12:26pm

It said that the house was supposed to vote on it tomorrow. That was on cspan

jkbrink 07/21/2010 12:26pm

Is it now true that they aren’t going to vote on this until tomorrow?
Why are they doing this???

widget02us 07/21/2010 12:24pm

No BrandiWY I am also stuffed!

Jonapoo4u 07/21/2010 12:24pm

i guess all thats left is to bust the reps balls on all amendments and ride the clock

Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 12:20pm
in reply to Jonapoo4u Jul 21, 2010 12:17pm

Reid proposed they vote on 4 amendments with debate limited to 40 minutes then a vote on the bill, there were no objections. they are not forcing them to wait the whole 30 hours that was bad reporting.

BrandiWY 07/21/2010 12:20pm

Yes, our friends across the aisle would like to spend the day making motions and calling votes to run 30 hours up on the clock. Would you like more cabbage water? I am just stuffed!

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