UPDATE 4: After more than 6 hours of delay, the Democrats passed a slightly revised rule by a 214-201 vote. The new rule doesn't change how many or which amendments will be voted on, it just allows for a separate up-or-down vote on the bill even if the estate tax amendment passes. The original rule would have deemed the bill passed once the amendment is passed.
Original post below. I'll be rolling updates on this post, so check back again shortly for more (and follow along on Twitter)...
The House Rules Committee met last night to hammer out the rule that will govern today's House debate of the Obama-GOP tax bill, and, as expected, they're protecting it by allowing only one amendment vote. There will be no votes on letting the upper-income tax rates expire, making the payroll tax provision less regressive, lengthening the unemployment insurance filing extension, or adding an extra tier of benefits for the 99ers. The only vote allowed will be on an amendment to raise the estate tax from the Senate's very low level to the almost-as-low 2009 level as set by Bush, and House leaders are whipping against this because they don't want to have to send the bill back to the Senate.Read Full Article Comments (23)
I've been trying to make the point that the 99er problem -- people exhausting all unemployment benefits without finding a job -- is about to get much worse because we're approaching 99 weeks from the brunt of the recession unemployment spike. Congress is not planning to add more weeks of unemployment benefits and the Federal Reserve is projecting the unemployment rate to stay pretty much where it is for the next year. Putting it all together, this means that for the foreseeable future, there will no jobs and no government support for the millions of 99ers.Read Full Article Comments (144)
If congressional leaders have their way, this will be the final week of the 111th Congress. President Obama and most Republicans are hoping the Democrats will end their four years in the majority by passing a full extension of the Bush tax cuts for all income levels. To that end, the Senate is set to take a big cloture vote this afternoon on an amendment to the House's bill to allow the tax cuts to expire for income over $200,000 (H.R. 4853) that would change the bill to extend all the tax cuts, lower the estate tax, extend unemployment benefits, and lots more. If today's vote passes, as is expected, the bill will be sent back to the House by Tuesday evening for follow-up action. That's where things become less clear.Read Full Article Comments (3)
Hot on the heels of Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee's [D, TX-18] statement Thursday on the House floor that an extension of unemployment insurance for 99ers should be added to Obama's tax deal, the Congressional Black Caucus has announced that adding 99ers relief is essential for winning the support of their members. "The CBC has reached a consensus on three areas that we believe we can unite behind, Rep. Bobby Scott [D, VA-3] said at a press conference on Friday. "First, we support the 13-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits, but we all agree that we also ought to extend benefits for the so called 99ers -- those who are exhausting the benefits they have."Read Full Article Comments (13)
The unemployed of the "Great Recession" are organizing online at OpenCongress to share resources, support and document what Congress is doing to extend (or not) unemployment benefits.
Here's the state of things in Congress: President Obama and congressional Republicans struck a deal a few days ago that would prolong the current regime of extended unemployment benefits - which last for different lengths for different states, depending on how bad the recession is there - until January 2012. States with the worst unemployment rate would still have a maximum of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, but the compromise would allow those who have become unemployed in the last 99 weeks to continue receiving unemployment benefits until their time expires. No additional benefits were added; it merely maintained the stimulus-level unemployment benefits until 2012. The extended unemployment benefits were due to expire December 11, 2010. The compromise package also contained a number of tax cuts: a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, a two-year estate tax cut, a two-year temporary cut in the payroll tax rate, equipment-purchase write-offs for businesses and various small-bore tax credits from the stimulus bill. (See this OC blog post for more).Read Full Article Comments (14)
The House of Representatives this afternoon is scheduled to pass, under the expedited suspension of the rules procedure, a new, stand-alone bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits. The bill is H.R. 5618, the "Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010." It was introduced yesterday by Rep. Jim McDermott [D, WA-7] and has one co-sponsor -- the powerful House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Sander Levin [D, MI-12].Read Full Article Comments (106)
We've discussed how Sen. Jim Bunning's [R, KY] filibuster of unemployment benefits has affected millions of dollars in construction projects and thousands of workers, but there's another consequence of his obstruction: a 21 percent cut in Medicare dollars for doctors. I've discussed the “doc fix” before but to recap, a budget formula has repeatedly and automatically cut Medicaid payments to doctors since 2003. Congress routinely votes to delay those cuts, but by not paying to permanently fix t...Read Full Article Submit a Comment
While health care reform moves to the back rooms for now, Congress is hoping to take floor action on a number of jobs-related bills this week including a temporary extension for unemployment benefits (H.R.4691) that was single-handedly blocked by Sen. Jim Bunning [R, KY].Read Full Article Comments (1)