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The Unemployment Debate Rages On

June 15, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Earlier this morning I passed along word of what appeared to be an emerging deal to take a little bit of unemployment insurance money out of the tax extenders bill in order to solidify the Democrats’ center-right flank and and pass it by the end of the week. But as the day progresses, that report looks more and more premature. This PM update from CongressDaily, which I’ll extract a good chunk of because it’s behind a paywall and because I know a lot of folk are watching this closely, illustrates the morass of competing concerns the Senate is still slogging through:

The Senate could take test votes as early as today on dueling “extenders” packages put forward by each party. But with neither expected to get the necessary 60 votes, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus is preparing a scaled-back alternative that could include lower spending on unemployment benefits and Medicare physician payments.

Refinements could include jettisoning an extra $25 a week added to unemployment checks, saving $6 billion, and shortening the “doc fix” to as little as seven months, saving another $16 billion, sources said.

Those fixes would get the cost down close to the House-passed version, which would add $54 billion to the deficit, as wavering senators on both sides of the aisle expressed continued concern about the $79 billion deficit impact of the Senate Democrats’ proposal.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said she urged Majority Leader Reid to simply take out the “doc fix” and pay for it with unused stimulus funds.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., turned around the argument that deficit spending is necessary to get out of a recession.

“If everything is an emergency, nothing is,” he said. “I think we slow down a recovery when we continue to borrow for deficit spending, even for worthwhile items.” Nelson said he still might consider voting “no” unless the entire package is offset. “I don’t know if paring down is the answer,” he said.

Part of the $79 billion includes $24 billion for state Medicaid funding relief, which most governors are argue is critical to avoid public-sector layoffs, because money to pay teachers, firefighters and others would otherwise have to compete with medical care for those without insurance.


In contrast to the Senate Democratic proposal, the proposal from Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Thune of South Dakota would trim $68 billion from the deficit based on CBO estimates released today. A previous estimate did not account for $13 billion in added tax revenues projected due to medical liability changes, as reduced health spending would result in more taxable wages, rather than nontaxed employer-provided health insurance.

The Senate is debating all this right now. Currently, Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY] has the floor and is discussing his amendment to the Native American land settlement provision in the bill, so clearly there is more playing into all this than even the article above describes. Votes, apparently, will be taking place later in the day. Remember, the Democrats need all 59 of their members voting in favor, plus at least one Republican cross-over to get the 60 voted needed to break the Republicans’ filibuster.

You can get more info on the Sen. John Thune [R, SD] alternative via a press release posted on his website, the CBO (pdf), or Thomas. On Thomas, you’ll note that among the co-sponsors of the Thune alternative is one of the few Republicans Democrats are considering gettable cross-over votes for passing their own version, Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA]

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  • jryanitpro 06/16/2010 4:06am

    Wow this is becoming such a roller coaster. My health seems to follow along with it. I can not believe they are willing to sacrifice so many Americans for the Senator’s pet projects. It is a disgrace that they are connecting our survival to some of the things I’ve read about. I know that is how they always do it, but it sure sheds light on how broken our system is. Most people in the real world would be fired from every job they ever had if they performed as these Senators and Congressmen do in getting things accomplished. I mean come on already.

  • Comm_reply
    romeoclown 06/18/2010 1:46am
    I write to my Senator and get the obligatory thanks for contacting me but he has no balls to reply to the text sent,folks we just don’t count.Insult to injury I have had to swallow my pride and apply for foodstamps.The tale of the tape,May 11 got emergency stamps and was told I would be eligable for stamps.The emergency stamps expired the end of may,I was told I would get a letter to set up another appt.I called on the 16th of june and was told maybe I would get an appt. next week next week will come and if I don’t go into a diabetic coma mabey I can make the appt. they say there backed up too little staff now yes I am in NJ one screwed up state where the food pantries are empty[the governor got to the food first].I have sold everything that I had family hierlooms my watch I have nothing left.I’m 51 male,I would prostitute myself but I look pretty ugly in a tube top.As of today I have no criminal record what will tommorow bring.
  • craines 06/16/2010 5:45am

    Iron Workers, Fire Fighters, Police Officers were there when you needed us. 911 bought out the best we had, Now be their for us, our world has come tumbling down.

    Help us dig out this we losing everything!


  • jgpt777 06/16/2010 9:32am

    Please everyone, take note of the names of the people in congress, and remember to tell your family and friends,“Not To Vote For them in the Future”…
    They are heartless selfish people, that only care about there own greed. While American Families are struggling and homeless, because congress wants to drag there greed issues, and not extend unemployment,The American people that put them into office are starving.
    Sen. John Tester, what are you doing? are you crazy? offering to strike the extra $25 dollar Americans been recieving. “They should take it out of your pay check”, Americans need that extra funds, just to survive.
    To all the American People caught up in this Unemployment mess, and are suffering hardship, My Prayers and Concerns about your lives are with me, when I pray to God nightly

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 06/30/2010 11:00pm

    The Senate needs to be held accountable for their incompetence and lack of integrity. Shame on them for not coming up with a 100% solution for all Americans who are forced to survive on their UI.

    President Obama can’t sign a bill, if Congress doesn’t get it to him. President Obama’s discussed the economy, and the need to help the displaced unemployed with UI Extentions on Monday and Tuesday. CSPAN.ORG

    As of today, we have 9.7% unemployed, 55% of the workforce have taken reduced work hours, pay-cuts, unpaid leave, forced to switch to part-time, and BP Oil Corporation’s IRRESPONSIBLENESS is adding to LOST JOBS and LOST LIVES.
    1.2 million who will lose their Unemployment Insurance if Republicans get their way.

    The GOP have no vested interest in hearing or helping jobless people. The only communication Republicans hear is $$$$$. That’s why they listen to and only support Oil Companies, Insurance Companies, Banks, Big Corporations, and Wall Street

  • HabloIngles 06/16/2010 12:46pm

    OPEN LETTER TO US SENATE HR4213 UNEMPL. EXT. NAYSAYERS: I would like to know why you voted no on HR4213. You have a job, ins., a car, house, family, another income. In 2 days that’s gone, zip, nada. No income, family, no one but you. No Senate job, no income. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? You are faced w/ no job, losing your house, your means of getting a job.
    Welcome to the world of the UNEMPLOYED. There’s 1.2 million of us.
    Did it occur to you that 1.2 million people might have an impact?

    • Homes being lost=More drain on state funds.
    • Lost sales tax desperately needed;
    • Less money spent on goods & svcs. to help local & state treas.
    • Loss of cars=less taxes to state govern.=less money to ins. cos.
    • People having to go to shelters;
    • Abandoned pets overwhelming shelters & rescue groups;
    • More crime, degradation of neighborhoods, loss of prop. values.
    • The human suffering, you have no idea.
  • mybabygirliee 06/16/2010 3:40pm

    My heart and my mind are just so torn. I am a single mother, and worry about me and my daughter. Decided to go back to school when I couldn’t find a job, can’t even find part-time employment because I guess with my education and experience, I am over-experienced. I have lost my home, and worry about how we will get by. I am sure there are so many others feeling their own hardship over the unemployment delay. My prayers are with you all! God bless us all. I look up this site every night, I pray, and I pray. I don’t know why unemployment is paired with any other items. IT ALONE STANDS ON ITS OWN! You ask for us all to vote, it is important. We are smart enough to vote, I pray that we are all watching how things are being handled, and use that knowledge when its time to vote again.

  • romeoclown 06/17/2010 4:27am

    MANY OF US WILL NOT BE ALIVE COME NOVEMBER,Every one is so nice,ask your senator,pray that they will listen People; fuck them all, they care about thier jobs, they get pensions for life after 2 years.I for one am done being nice.If you are lucky enough to get an interview for a job chances are your brighter then the interviewer.These cocksuckers piss away money and lie.Pardon my language[and i’m a priest]this is how pissed I am.Good people are starving in our country.Now don’t go looking to join these pussy TEA Baggers,mindless dittos they are.There is no future to look foward to.If you want to do some good kill a Beck for god or a rush with my blessing.

  • skrapper 06/17/2010 9:30am

    Just as we have lost our jobs, homes, and everything.
    We will remember you come November, and I promise you
    NO INCUMBANT WILL BE REALECTED. Every one pass that on.
    It’s time we clean house with the TAX PAYERS MONEY.

  • JBROKE 06/18/2010 4:19pm

    An unemployment check will not eliminate a personal budget deficit. How in the hell do you make a social program pay for itself? Invest it in a hedge fund? It may slow down the total collapse of former middle class tax payers. That’s about all. These talking heads are trying to get the middle class and the poor fighting among themselves.

    Our congressmen need a little bit of public policy and econ review.
    They are not going to learn it on Fox News with Glenn Beck. He is an entertainer. Congress isn’t paid to entertain. I am a bit sick of their Reality TV show. How about you?

  • Chris51 07/03/2010 10:17pm

    Why don’t our Senators get that there is a great need?

    The job market is broken.
    The corporate executives are not going to give up their year-end profit bonus by adding jobs/payroll to their companies.

    Here are a few stories on our jobless nation:

    Job recovery hits a wall

    Job gloom at all time high

    7.9 million jobs lost- many forever

    Jobless claims spike

    Thousands at risk for losing unemployment benefits

  • Chris51 07/10/2010 7:06am

    Republicans filibustered UI Ext bill! They’re asking for UI Ext be paid, while at the same time they’re fighting to give their Special Interest groups special tax stimulus. Rep are trying to look like they care about the deficit, but for 10 yrs (Bush Admin) they never spoke of concerns for the huge deficit they were digging us into as they approved large spending for Special Interest. The Rep debate on these UI Ext bills are like “broken record”. They want USA to use the stimulus money that is already committed to the agreed upon projects, programs, etc. Republicans want USA to “rob Peter to pay Paul”, so they can try to prolong the problem past November election. This is how they have operated for YEARS, and we’re in worse shape now because of their IRRESPONSIBLENESS. People should not be in Leadership positions if they cant make decision for the problems at hand.
    Dont take my word for it. Please read links Donny Shaw and others have provided with accurate research and reporting.

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