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GOP Blocks Vote on Unemployment Extension for 99ers

February 18, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Job losses in the recession peaked almost exactly two years ago, and the situation has barely improved since. Current law allows unemployed workers to receive a maximum of two years of unemployment insurance benefits, so millions of people who lost their jobs in the recession are getting cut off from government support right now with little chance of finding work. These folks are often referred to as “99ers,” 99 being the maximum number of benefit weeks. Despite the situation, House Republicans yesterday used an arcane rule to block an amendment that would have provided 14 more weeks of benefits for these people.

Arthur Delaney at Huffington Post reports:

The House is currently debating a “continuing resolution” that will fund government operations through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, in lieu of a formal budget. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) attempted to amend the CR with her provision to provide another 14 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits for people who’ve been out of work for six months or longer.

In remarks on the House floor after midnight, Lee noted, as HuffPost did earlier this week, that her amendment to the CR is the only one of the hundreds proposed that addresses the jobs crisis.

“Of the nearly 600 amendments to the continuing resolution that have been proposed or considered so far, this amendment is the only one, mind you, that deals with the problem of the unemployed directly,” Lee said. “Don’t resort to parliamentary maneuvers to block help to the unemployed.”

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) then used a parliamentary maneuver to successfully block the amendment.

“An amendment to an appropriation bill shall not be in order in changing existing law,” said Rehberg. “The amendment directly changes existing law.”

The amendment, based on a bill introduced by Lee and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), would modify the tax-cut deal that President Barack Obama struck with congressional Republicans in December. That deal reauthorized tax cuts for the rich for two years and 73 weeks of federal benefits for the long-term unemployed for one year.

The kicker is that the amendment could have easily been drafted so that it did not change existing law. The amendment, which is identical to H.R.589, would have added 14 weeks to the length of Tier I benefits. If it instead added the 14 weeks by creating a new tier it would have qualified under the rules governing amendments for the continuing resolution and been givend a vote. Sure, Scott and Lee could have been more cautious with their amendment, but the Republicans did not have to block it. Rules like the one used by Rehberg t block the vote are routinely ignored.

At this point it’s unclear when the Democrats will have another shot at holding a vote on this. The Republican leadership is not going to bring the bill to the floor under regular order, so it will have to happen in the form of an amendment to a larger bill. It may be months before the Republicans hold another open debate that allows members to offer amendments.

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Comments

Spam Comment

Fdemsnrepubs 02/25/2011 1:38pm

Admonish one group benefit another and nobody gets ahead. Washington hasn’t represented the average Americans interest over 50 years. Its time we take back our country not divided by groups as dems, repubs, tea party, but as a nation.

Fdemsnrepubs 02/25/2011 1:37pm

I hold both parties in contempt and working for special interest groups…..None of the spending or slashing has helped the average Americans.

I don’t have a union or special interest group to represent me and I am sure I speak for a majority of those unemployed. Tea Party, I agree with a lot of the principles, but you cant cut off those unemployed to no fault of their own and send them up shits creek. Your job creation policies I agree with but you need to give those unemployed time for your policies to work. Other wise its just the same old bs.

Fdemsnrepubs 02/25/2011 1:37pm

I was a long time republican for years….over the past year I have to say I cannot identify myself with either party or the newly formed tea party. I am not looking for hand outs which agrees with my Repub side, I am not for useless spending that benefits mainly unions (to which I don’t belong).

Spam Comment

Abaratarrr 02/20/2011 10:08am
in reply to Abaratarrr Feb 20, 2011 9:57am

something else I find interesting is that students who attend private schools have better test scores then those that attend public schools yet private school teachers are paid substantially less then public schools teachers, I do not think money is the issue.

with exception to Switzerland and Sweden the US spends more money per student on primary and secondary education then any other country in the world with exception to Switzerland and Sweden, why are other students passing up US students if the issue is money?

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/eiip/eiipid43.asp

Abaratarrr 02/20/2011 9:57am
in reply to badams82 Feb 19, 2011 2:51pm

Would you be satisfied with teachers wages if they made more money on average then accountants, scientists, nurses, mechanical engines and CPAs?

I only ask because they do make more money per hour then the people in those professions.

Abaratarrr 02/20/2011 9:48am
in reply to NikkiJax Feb 19, 2011 2:39am

in 2010 individuals that were members of the Democratic party blocked far more unemployment extensions the republicans did.

Also for the first time in us history unemployment benefits were not extended when the unemployment rate exceeded 7.2% and that was when all 3 legislative branches were controlled by Democrats. Looking at historic Data If republicans had been in charge unemployment benefits would have been extended.

In the current political climate,I do not see republicans proposing to extend unemployment either, but republican leader ship have said on numerous occasions that they would agree to extend unemployment benefits if they are paid for, why will no democrat take that challenge and propose an unemployment extension that is paid for? A democratic member of the senate could still add a paid for filth tier to the CR, care to bet on weather are not a single senate democrat will bother to try to help us.

Spam Comment

badams82 02/19/2011 2:51pm
in reply to NikkiJax Feb 19, 2011 2:39am

Well, I hope A LOT of people don’t have suffer from short term memory and vote these idiots back in during the next election. The GOP DOES HELP… They ONLY Help Themselves and the Corporations that back them. They Help their growing bank accounts and portfolios. They get things done for the wealthy while, they continue to SUPPRESS THE MIDDLE CLASS.

The education system continues to take such hard hits it is infuriating!! Teachers are underpaid and children lack quality of education. Then they wonder why we place so low compared to other countries?!!

danijos 02/19/2011 6:32am

People always saying they Will NEVER vote for repubs again but look who has house! lmao as for all the states being Broke, well why dont they cut the salaries of the Senators and House reps? that would save some money and cut some of the deficit! Dont you agree? I really think gov’t needs to look at sate and fed employee salaries and start there with the cuts and stop Bailing all the companies that ripped us off and any paying other countries Bribes and take care of the U.S. We could also do what other Countries are doing! Just Blowing off steam! My Hubby been out of work since 2008 and no more Unemployment Benefits and still has found no work still trying to find out where the jobs are they say were made, lol what a fkn joke!

Spam Comment

NikkiJax 02/19/2011 2:39am

It amazes me how the GOP just refuses to help us! I WILL NEVER EVER VOTE FOR ANOTHER REPUBLICAN AGAIN AS LONG AS I LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are heartless and selfish and only out for their own pockets! I cannot wait until KARMA gets to them!

Spam Comment

Spam Comment

Abaratarrr 02/18/2011 11:13am

I am going to give Barbra lee the benefit of the doubt on this one, It is an obscure rule that blocked her amendment and i am sure only a few people are aware of it.

the cynic in me wants to say that they are one again playing partition games to simply make the opposing cult look bad by giving them the chance to block a vote on a bill that could have been presented in a way that it could not have been blocked (Reid has done that several time with unemployment legislation in the senate), but being that it is an obscure rule i believe that it is very possible that Lee was sincerely trying to help us and was not aware of the rule, I hope.

I still have faith in Barbara lee and am going to try hard to not make her pay for the sins of Reid and Stabenow just because they all happen to be members of the same cult.

? Is the CR to be voted on today or is there time for another democrat to propose another amendment that does not break the rules?

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