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A New Bill for 99ers, But Is It Too Late?

December 19, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

With very few days left in the 111th session of Congress, Rep. Barbara Lee [D, CA-9] and Rep. Bobby Scott [D, VA-3], both members of the Congressional Black Caucus, have introduced new legislation to provide relief to unemployed workers who have exhausted all available insurance benefits and are still unemployed (i.e. the “99ers”). The bill, H.R. 6556, would not add a fifth tier of federal benefits. Instead, it would extend the length of the first tier of benefits from 20 weeks to 34 weeks and allow 99ers to collect the additional 14 weeks retroactively.

The introduction of this bill is not necessarily a sign of progress for getting relief for 99ers from Congress. Any member of Congress can introduce any bill they want on any topic. They don’t need approval from party leadership. They simply draft a bill, drop it in a box, and it’s considered pending before Congress. The real work is advocacy. Members who are serious about their bills lobby their colleagues to become co-sponsors, push their bills in committee hearings and floor speeches, and support the work of grassroots groups that are fighting for the same cause.

It’s unclear if Reps. Lee and Scott are serious about getting this passed, but even if they are, the bill faces enormous odds.

Right now, it appears that the Congress is planning to adjourn the session on Wednesday. It’s possible for them to come back after Christmas, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] has said that he is willing to stay in session until Jan. 5th if necessary, but, unless they fail to resolve any items this week that they consider “must-pass,” it’s unlikely.

Normally, bills are approved by committees before they get a vote on the floor. Given the time constraints, that’s clearly not possible with this bill. The only way for this to move in the legislative process at this point would be for the House Rules Committee to decide it is a privileged matter that should be put on the House calendar directly without prior committee approval. The Rules Committee is closely connected to the House leadership and generally considered an extension of the Speaker of the House, so this is really in the hands of Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8]. To date, Pelosi has never specifically advocated for or pushed legislation to help people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

Ninety percent of bills die in the committees they were referred to upon introduction, and that’s the most likely outcome for this bill. But let’s imagine for a second what’s likely to happen if somehow that’s not the case.

If the bill gets to the House floor, it’s possible that it could be supported by a majority and passed. The House hasn’t been the chamber delaying unemployment benefits extensions these pays few years, it’s always been the Senate. Republicans in the Senate have consistently filibustered extensions of the filing deadline for the existing 99 weeks of unemployment benefits because they think they should be offset with corresponding spending cuts. According to the information posted by Rep. Scott, this bill does not include an offset. There’s no reason to think the Republicans’ position would be any different with this bill. In fact, it could be worse. Some Republicans have subscribed to the theory that unemployment benefits discourage people from looking for new jobs, so their opposition to adding additional weeks might be stronger than it is for just extending the filing deadline for the current level of weeks. Senate Democrats would need at least two Republicans to vote with them to break a filibuster on this bill. Without an offset, there’s no way that would happen.

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Displaying 1-30 of 41 total comments.

seanurse 12/30/2010 7:37am


chunchuna 12/27/2010 8:25am
in reply to Iamamerican33 Dec 20, 2010 8:14am

Not fair… Immigration Reform has nothing to do with this…

I am as American as you are, came to this country with my parents when I was 14 in 1971 LEGALLY AS A RESIDENT, grew up and went to High School and College in NYC. I speak fluent Spanish and Italian and still cannot get a job. 2 years ago both my husband and my son lost their jobs… They are now 99ers.. No more benefits, but still have to pay student loans, car payments… Our home is in Foreclosure and our 800+ credit score may not even be half of that now…
For the first time in my life I applied for Food Stamps.. I never in my worst nightmares thought we would come to this… Yet, here we are…
People will not even look at my resume, as soon as they see the year I graduated they know I am over 50 and I also get the “overqualified” BS, that is if I even get an answer…

Abaratarrr 12/27/2010 6:40am

“to 99ers, POTUS extended to 99 wks many have gone past that – we must get econ growing faster to create more jobs 4 u and help”

“8:52 AM Dec 24th via web
Retweeted by 13 people
Robert Gibbs (EOP)”

This is Obama’s press secretary, at least he seams to know we exist now.
if anyone has twitter please retweet this, there are only 13 retweets at this momen, it needs to be in the thousands to get recognition.

Checkless 12/26/2010 3:56pm

This is a great article. Roz Zurko is an angel! She keeps updated information posted on the Examiner regarding the unemployment extension for the 99ers. God bless her heart!

To All:

Please read this and pray that this will be approved. At least, we still have someone out there talking about wanting to do something for the 99ers. It’s past due!! It is a win win situation – the money will go directly back into the economy. I can’t believe that our Congressmen and women don’t see it this way.

RubberBoots 12/25/2010 7:23pm

The exstention that Obama signed did nothing for these people. It only allowed recently laid off workers to continue past the regular deadline. I in no way think trading these hostages for a tax break for the rich was a good thing as a matter of fact it was an obvious ploy to keep all of Americans temper down against the rich tax break witch threw our national debt even further to the extreme ringer.

75 percent of Americans do not even vote even as registered voters.

I hope this is a wake up call for people in this country to vote, because as you see there are villains in congress that finally 10 or so years ago passed a bill to allow 10,000 factory jobs to move over seas under the bush administration. Bushes comment on this was they couldn’t find people to do these jobs butt C’mon, you know the truth. The truth is he couldn’t find people in America willing to work for 50 cents an hour. Many of these so called 99ers have been working any where from 5 to 45 years.

leslie53 12/25/2010 6:29am

greetings all
i am not a 99er cause i haven’t had an employee type job in years. not
a sucessful small business either. i just don’t see how anyone can recieve unemployment for 99 weeks, and wait for a job. at some point you have to realize that its time to go for self. especially when you see your job leave the country. i can see helping a person thru tuff times, that is as long as they realize that the help comes from a finite sourse. the funds for unemployment insurance is not infinite. to me the issue is not extending unemployment, nor is it creating new tech jobs, its bringing the old jobs back from where they took em. we elected the people who deregulated the jobs out the country. we need people in washington who know from experience what it is to sink of swim. most politicos only know s or s at re-election time, people like us know sink or swin everyday…that’s the kind of people we need in dc.

CounterReversePsyOp 12/22/2010 11:54pm
in reply to seanurse Dec 22, 2010 7:36am

I said a prayer for you and I know it will all work out.=)

badams82 12/22/2010 3:30pm

Gibbs response regarding the 99er’s was infuriating! What, are we supposed to do while we wait for this magical job creation? Hasn’t, job creation been in the works for how long now?

badams82 12/22/2010 2:19pm

:-) Hope we have some good news soon. We have to keep some type of faith.

Iamamerican33 12/22/2010 2:05pm
in reply to Iamamerican33 Dec 22, 2010 2:02pm

that is the “senate” to adjourn… The Congress could be called back in… for it is usually the one to first offer a bill.

Iamamerican33 12/22/2010 2:02pm

Just heard Harry Reid wish the house a Merry Christmas. I imagine congress is about to adjourn. However, I have not (today) heard for sure if they are coming back on the 26th or before the 4th of January for any unfinished business as he had mentioned before. I have to give him credit for staying. So many went home days ago. There are still a few days left before the republicans take over. Days which are not actual “holidays”. The congress can be called back into session anytime before Jan 5. It may be too late for Christmas but it is never too late for them to assist the 99ers. Even the republicans cannot forever ignore a country’s crisis such as we have with people’s needs. No matter how hard it gets, I will never give up my positive attitude that eventually we will be seen and heard, for it is not just our situation, it is the COUNTRY’s situation. The more it grows, the more the entire country will feel it’s negative affect. For now, hold tight you family and may peace be yours.

seanurse 12/22/2010 7:36am

hello fellow 99ers. Hoping everyone has a nice christmas. I know we are all let down by the senators lack of action. go to and read the reporters opinion of the 99ers. It’s a very good article. well i went on another interview today to once again be told they were looking for a younger person. I guess I got to realize I may never work again. sad as I have so much to offer. GOD PLEASE GIVE ME DIRECTION IN MY LIFE THIS CHRISTMAS AND THE STRENGH TO CARRY ON YOUR WILL. AMEN

CounterReversePsyOp 12/21/2010 11:04pm

Check out INFOWARSdotCom and listen to the daily show on your computer, just click on the: listen now or windows media on the top right hand of the page for a nonpartisan,secular talk radio show that is not big corporate main stream media propaganda.

NavyVet81 12/21/2010 7:19pm
in reply to wstaff Dec 20, 2010 4:13am

Isn’t it ridiculous!!? I feel horribly for what people are going through. Up until I recently landed a federal job it’s still damn sad people work their whole lives to have the door slammed in their face. I heard that overqualified crap and I’m not even 30 yet so I could imagine what someone who is 35+ feeling!!! These low paying jobs don’t want to higher people like 99ers or those with careers because they know if a better offer came we’d be gone! A person fresh out of high school has a better opportunity to get a job than people with experience.

badams82 12/21/2010 10:19am

It’s, a shame that we are viewed by them as nothing but simple statistics/numbers versus human beings who are in desperate need of help. Stats and numbers dehumanize the reality that we have to face on a daily basis. They, are not up at night wondering if they will be able to feed their kids or pay the water bill. They do not deprive themselves from food so that their children can eat. They, are not walking around trying to keep it together, holding back the tears because you just don’t know How on Earth you will get through this! Maybe there will be a X-mas miracle and some will develop a conscious and do the right thing for us.

badams82 12/21/2010 10:05am
in reply to poolplayer Dec 20, 2010 3:50am

After, all the freaking student loans and degrees now we can’t even get a decent job that will actually pay the bills. This is madness!Hopefully they will pass something ASAP!

Abaratarrr 12/21/2010 8:23am
in reply to Checkless Dec 21, 2010 6:26am

they did the same thing right before thanks giving with 3706, they do this just so people will not bug them during their vacation. They do not want people protesting in front of their houses on Christmas. We would have been protesting in front of their homes on thanksgiving had 3706 not been introduced, can they fool us twice?

Just a game to them. They think we are stupid

Checkless 12/21/2010 6:26am

The silence is erie. As of 11:24 a.m. (CST) there is no new information on H.R. 6556 on the internet. I hope that all of the hype yesterday wasn’t any early April fool’s joke.

craines 12/21/2010 1:58am

I seen that the housing marketing will probably double dip and turn down and lose another ONE TRILLION DOLLARS because of the unemployed. basically the 99er’s!

This should get there attention, but by then the damage will be done, American family’s will be destroyed. 99ers have to keep the pressure on, politicians believe because they extended the basic UI that they can kick this can down the road for 13 months,

Don’t let up on them, remember the squeaky WHEEL gets the grease. DEMAND JOBS
that pay. The entire nation turned RED, which means the jobs the republican Governor’s create … will be LOW PAYING NON-UNION JOBS.

They’ll push the Right-to-Work law and say unions are the reason we cant compete.
UNIONS MEMBERS only make up around 15% of the work force now and we are only 50%
employed. Half are members are starving because of lack of work.

We need good paying jobs – union jobs

99erCA 12/20/2010 6:56pm

But also, I commend the Black Caucus for making a stand for the never ending cycle of opportunity vs. being born into wealth. There is a form of discrimination going on here, and there nothing legally we could do about it.

SunshineHybrid 12/20/2010 6:56pm

Well lets look at the facts. Republicans just want the 99ers to go away, even if they have to die to do so. I don’t know if the Democrats have a strategy or not. But the voters thought the Republicans could do some good.
But I do believe that people will take notice to everything they say and do and in 2 years when there is another election it will be hardpressed for a Republican to retain their office. The people in the US are fed up with idol promises and those who think they own the world because they are rich. It would not surprise me if in the next two years that there is a revolt. I wish everyone would go to the Republican home and those who decide not to vote and camp out in their front yard. Let their children see the desperation that has been caused by them.

99erCA 12/20/2010 6:52pm

This bill is a simple act of political gain, just like the dream act, and DADT. I would rather have a bill that creates jobs, tax incentives, training programs, instead of me having to ask dad for allowance. I need my independence back. Tier 6

UnemployedWorkersActionGroup 12/20/2010 4:35pm

This is just more B.S. from Democrats who are playing politics with 99ers lives. They know full well this bill cannot possibly pass and in January it’s a dead bill. They should be ashamed of themselves!

comments11660 12/20/2010 3:30pm

Stories of the unemployed remind me of a time so long ago when a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was laid in a manger. There was no room for Him in the Inn. He was born that night so long ago so He could give His life to shed His blood to cover our sins so we could stand before the Lord God Almighty spotless before the throne of God on our day of reckoning our day of judgement.

I know these words don’t seem to pay the bills but He is the hope of this God forsaken world and this Christmas He is your hope as well, He is my hope too and I am trusting in Him to make a way for a job since this Congress and President have proven their incompetence to improve our economy making jobs or to make unemployment available to those who just want to work. Please know you are in my prayers for jobs.

wendya1972 12/20/2010 2:52pm

It would stand a better chance if it were offset, it would give it a chance in January when the Republicans take over the house.

nancym 12/20/2010 11:43am

They’d need an offset? So give them an offset, jeez. Take any of those egregious elements that just went through the big tax cut bill and trim one down a fraction, like for example the big ethanol tax credit, or that rum refinery that will be built with taxpayer money, in Puerto Rico I think it was, courtesy of the rum tax extender. (I’m not joking, go see Taxpayers for Common Sense for all the gory details of the bill, or check them out on CSPAN’s morning segment for today.)

Seems it would be to Pelosi’s political advantage to have the country watch as Republicans vote down a standalone bill for help for the jobless just after giving millionaire’s their cool holiday gifts.

DSWants2Work 12/20/2010 10:54am
in reply to poolplayer Dec 20, 2010 3:50am

I agree with you poolplayer. I have been trying to get jobs in my old field of graphic design, which I am completely disinterested in now, but I would still take one just to work and pay my bills. I have also been trying to find entry level jobs in other careers just to feel purpose again (as well as to figure out what next to do with my career) even though those salaries would never pay my mortgage and other misc bills. I get the overqualified excuse all the time. I feel what is really going on is that employers have so many resumes to choose from they can bide their time with their choices, at least get an intern. I currently have no job in sight and about two months worth of bills left in my savings and then I don’t know what I am going to do. Those fourteen weeks could really help.

Tx99er 12/20/2010 10:48am

Mike Colliss over at all247news pulls no punches on what he thinks of the bill “Bluntly put, it seems almost certain that, given the intention of the House to adjourn by Wednesday at the very latest there simply is not enough time for Representative Lee’s bill to be considered.”

Checkless 12/20/2010 9:59am

I want to continue to have a positive outlook regarding this bill. I am praying that this is the answer to our prayers. However, I don’t want to be sold an unrealistic idea with false hopes. We don’t need anymore wolves in sheep clothing.

If this article is true – then we’re being duped.—-Cynical-Unemployment-Extension-Benefits-Ploy.aspx

Iamamerican33 12/20/2010 8:14am

Don’t ever give up people… go to Mrs. Pelosi’s web site and leave a message of appreciation for anything that she or Harry Reid can do for us by taking notice of bill H.R.6556 and tucking it under their wing and supporting help needed for the 99ers. Speak honestly but respectfully, for no one listens to whining or threats. Just remind her that the 99ers have been left at the bus stop and someone needs to send a bus back …for us.

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