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Dems Lose Big on Unemployment Insurance/Tax Extenders Vote

June 16, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

After two weeks of solid debate — and two weeks of people having their unemployment insurance cut off because of congressional inaction — the Senate this morning took their first test vote on passing H.R. 4213, the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.” They failed miserably. The final vote count was 45-52. Sixty votes were needed to proceed.

The bill would, among other things, extend the filing deadline to November 30, 2010 for people whose unemployment benefits are expiring and are looking to move into the next tier of extended federal benefits. The current deadline took effect on June 2, and has already caused about 400,000 unemployed Americans to see their extended benefits end prematurely.

The bill also contains a handful of tax-credit extensions, dozens of tax cut provisions targeted at specific industries, $24 billion in aid for states struggling to pay for Medicaid, a 19-month delay of a scheduled 21% pay cut for doctors under Medicare, and more, for a total net cost of about $141 billion. Because $78 billion of that isn’t paid for with new revenues, the Senate had to vote on waiving their self-induced pay-as-you-go rule requiring all new spending to be fully offset. This motion on waiving pay-as-you-go is what they voted on today and failed overwhelmingly to pass.

No Republicans voted in favor of the motion, and 11 Democrats broke rank and voted with Republicans against it. Full roll call details can be seen here. We’ll have the roll call info up on OpenCongress soon, but for now you can view it here.

So, what’s the next step?

Carl Hulse reports that the Dems are putting unemployment benefits at the front of the chopping block:

Senate Democrats are exploring whether to eliminate an extra $25 a week in unemployment benefits, part of the economic stimulus legislation passed in 2009, as a way to cut costs and attract Republican votes for a stalled package of tax breaks, tax increases on the affluent and safety-net spending.

Top officials said that change would save billions of dollars over the next six months and could lead to approval of an overall extension of jobless pay by making the legislative package easier to swallow for lawmakers worried about deficit spending.

Among other changes under consideration is blocking a cut in Medicare fees paid to doctors for just one year rather than the 19 months approved last month by the House, which was already a reduction from the three years of relief sought earlier.

Taking out the extra $25 per month would save about $6 billion this year, and shortening the Medicare pay-cut delay would lower the cost of the bill by roughly $8 billion, though this should pretty much be seen as a gimmick because you can be sure that Congress will be back 12 months down the road to extend the patch again as they have been doing consistently since 2003.

Yesterday, the general feeling was that Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] and others believed that taking these items out and getting the bill’s net deficit impact down to $64 billion or so would be enough to round up 60 votes and get this bill out of the Senate. But I think the wide margin of failure in today’s vote may change those calculations. I think there is going to have to be a more thorough reimagining of the legislative package at hand, which, of course, is going to mean more delay and more unemployed people losing their benefits.

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Displaying 1-30 of 58 total comments.

  • Manstein16 06/16/2010 8:13am

    Time to remove the doc fix, Dems. You’ll save money and deliver the very savings you promised Americans (and CBO) during the HCR debate.

  • Comm_reply
    eyesys 06/16/2010 10:51am

    This proves that the Senate is out of touch with the way that things really are out here in the world for the rest of us…I am an experienced professional and have only been able to secure a handful of unsuccessful interviews, after almost a year of trying to find a job. There is just too much competition – one employer told me that she had received well over 400 resumes for the position for which I was interviewing. This position only paid $12.00 an hour.

    What am I supposed to do now? Sell my blood?

    Maybe we should all camp on the Senate stairs and ask them to feed and clothe us, pay our rent and overdue bills that we are already behind on. Maybe they don’t remember what it’s like to suffer like this, or have had the good fortune of never having to experience it in the first place.

    This was my last hope during a very desperate time – and now, well, I don’t even have that.

  • Comm_reply
    Allana1 06/16/2010 5:26pm

    Exactly what I was thinking! Although I was thinking that if we camped out in their yards (yes I know private property but this is in my head)and have them have to explain to their families why we are there. Because mommy/daddy won’t give an inch and they have no place else to go. And I go tomorrow to sell my plasma, I need the gas money for a job interview next week.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/01/2010 9:50am

    Corporations have increased their cash reserves to $1.84 TRILLION, THE HIGHEST FIGURE IN HISTORY! Big business and the banks, after an unprecedented bailout by the public treasury, are hoarding the funds (Americans pay this back on their IRS tax bill). BIG CORPORATIONS EXECUTIVES ARE MAKING BIG BONUSES AND GETTING SALARY INCREASES FOR SHOWING HUGE PROFITS. The cash reserves of major corporations have jumped 26 percent in one year, the largest percentage increase in nearly 60 years. The cash reserves of working people, and particularly the unemployed, have not been so fortunate.

    REPUBLICANS bloc, the SENATE vote and defeat sevaral proposed extension of unemployment benefits for unemployed workers. Many of these same Senators rushed through a $700 BILLION bailout of Wall Street in 2008 in a matter of days, cannot bring itself to support even the most meager subsistence for the unemployed workers who are the victims, not the perpetrators, of the economic crisis.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 06/30/2010 6:56am

    • It’s the Republican party who is busy watching out for Wall Street/Corporations.
    Shame on Congress for not coming up with a solution for ALL its’ displaced hard working Americans.
    • 9.7% unemployed = 1.2 million Americans, and 55% of the workforce have taken reduced work hours, pay-cuts, unpaid leave, forced to switch to part-time. The BP Oil Corporation’s irresponsibleness is adding to lost jobs and lost lives.

    Yesterday, President Obama’s discussed what was happening with corporations, the economy, and the need to help the displaced unemployed. Watch his entire interview on CSPAN. He gets it.

    CNN and FOX only report on self-interested, with their main story and topics cycling 24 hours. Go to CSPAN

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 06/30/2010 10:59pm

    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

  • general 06/16/2010 8:22am

    WTF these guys have alot of balls sitting there fat and happy while we the people suffer. Worried about deficit spending thats a joke while they fund to wars we have no business fighting.Get off your asses and help the people that put you there or we Will take you out when it comes time to vote there are many more of us than rich people who you seem to bend over backwards to help.Maybe a March on Washington of the Millions of Unemployed is in order think about that!

  • Comm_reply
    tweetybird499 06/16/2010 9:49am

    I agree! I am flat broke, but I would find the money for gas to be there. Maybe these idiots would get the point that we are not messing around with the same people come November.

  • elleedr 06/16/2010 8:35am

    I agree 100% with “general”. Please let me know when for the Million Person March of the Unemployed on Washington so that I can let many more of the struggling Americans barely able to paddle to stay afloat. I am writing down all the votes of “nay” and when election time comes to vote they will not get it from me, my family, my friends, ex-coworkers, anyone that I spread the word of these people that are destroying many families. What they fail to understand is that many of us have children that it effect.

  • Shockedandappaled 06/16/2010 8:46am

    I agree!! You know if we the people had known that these a**holes were going to screw us then they surley could be in the same situation that many of us are in! This is all CRAP!!! Maybe they will take us all in when we lose our homes because they didn’t pass this damn extention!! NOT!!

  • sldhouston 06/16/2010 9:06am

    Power in numbers people! COME NOVEMBER, REMEMBER THEM… REMEMBER THIS DAY. Spread the word, post, use the internet to your advantage, GET THE WORD OUT! Vote “nay” for these people who continue to play with the lives of American people. You can spend billions in an effortless war but when it comes to us in America, this is what we get? Thanks Congress. See you in November!

  • Comm_reply
    unemployedinillinois 06/16/2010 2:34pm

    I am really getting so tired of all the blogs telling everyone to “Wait Until November”, and we will vote them out. Many people will probably not be around in November if things don’t change really soon for the unemployed! We NEED action NOW not in Novemeber.

  • jryanitpro 06/16/2010 9:06am

    I am appalled at how us ordinary Americans are being shafted while they try to attach their pet spending. God I hope to hear something positive soon. How come the headlines seem to want to reel us in. Yesterday we hear a deal is struck, now it is gloom and doom again. This on top of being promised that they would deal with this before the Holiday they just took. Even when I work I can not get paid weeks off because of the economy. When are they going to feel the heat that regular people feel. That’s the problem in a nutshell. They are so far removed from what reality is for so many Americans.

  • skeltoac 06/16/2010 9:24am

    Donny, you write with a subtle left bias. To write that people had “their unemployment insurance cut off” makes it seem as though they were deprived of an existing entitlement. They weren’t.

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 06/16/2010 9:47am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I chose those words because I believe there is a pretty broad bipartisan agreement in the Senate that unemployment insurance benefits should be extended. It’s the other unrelated stuff in this bill that is stalling the UI benefits.

  • Comm_reply
    unemployedinillinois 06/16/2010 2:37pm

    I agree with you totally! Why is all these other issues tacked on to an unemployment bill? Of course we will never get it passed with all the additional crap added on. And of course, now their July 4th week vacation is coming up so there goes another month of no benefits. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I had a job, for holidays we got ONE day off, not a week like Congress and everyone else in DC gets. What’s that all about?? How many days do these elected officials actually work a year???

  • Comm_reply
    meldanley 06/16/2010 6:05pm

    They don’t work any days per year they argue and strut for 4 days and take 7 off to clean their tail feathers

  • Comm_reply
    sspasoff 06/16/2010 3:12pm

    Who ever you are a big ASSHOLE!!

  • tillie01 06/16/2010 9:36am

    The way this system of Government works needs to change! There needs to be cuts in thier pay and benefits. Shorten terms to 2 yrs. If you work in Washington for the government you must be a resident. No more home away from home. You also drive your own car. We no longer pay for your car and home. Get rid of ALL the lobbiest!!!!!! We are filling their pockets. And they are filling greedy politicians pockets. No more lopping bills in together and trying to get them to pass. If we don’t change the system, the next new ones that come in will have that greed carrot dangled in from of them, and were right back to where we started. Look at what our Government and greed is doing to our country. Our oceans and eco system has been devistated!!!!!!!!! All in the name of GREED! Makes me want to throw up!!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Cat58 06/16/2010 11:38am

    Ditto !!!

  • Comm_reply
    lindalee238 06/16/2010 4:23pm

    cant agree more…

  • XvxRAINxvX 06/16/2010 9:49am

    Question… if this gets passed will it be retroactive? And also why don’t they work more on just passing the unemployment extension rather than all the other things in the bill???

  • tiredofbeingtired 06/16/2010 10:01am

    This is just sad. I see so many people that really need unemployment benefits extended. They are out every day searching for jobs, spending up their savings, willing to take any job even though they probably have more education than the individuals walking all over them in Congress. It’s’s horrible and they should be voted out of office. We can help people in Haiti, people in foreign lands, heck we can bail out Greece for gods sake, but we can’t take care of those in our own backyard? How much sense does that make? Perhaps we should all move on foreign land and perhaps some assistance would come.

  • jgpt777 06/16/2010 10:02am

    Alexander (R-TN)
    Barrasso (R-WY)
    Bayh (D-IN)
    Begich (D-AK)
    Bennett (R-UT)
    Bond (R-MO)
    Brown (R-MA)
    Brownback (R-KS)
    Bunning (R-KY)
    Burr (R-NC)
    Chambliss (R-GA)
    Coburn (R-OK)
    Cochran (R-MS)
    Collins (R-ME)
    Corker (R-TN)
    Cornyn (R-TX)
    Crapo (R-ID)
    DeMint (R-SC)
    Ensign (R-NV)
    Enzi (R-WY)
    Feingold (D-WI)
    Graham (R-SC)
    Grassley (R-IA)
    Gregg (R-NH)
    Hatch (R-UT)
    Hutchison (R-TX)
    Inhofe (R-OK)
    Isakson (R-GA)
    Johanns (R-NE)
    Kohl (D-WI)
    Kyl (R-AZ)
    Landrieu (D-LA)
    LeMieux (R-FL)
    Lieberman (ID-CT)
    Lugar (R-IN)
    McCain (R-AZ)
    McCaskill (D-MO)
    McConnell (R-KY)
    Menendez (D-NJ)
    Murkowski (R-AK)
    Nelson (D-FL)
    Nelson (D-NE)
    Pryor (D-AR)
    Risch (R-ID)
    Sessions (R-AL)
    Shelby (R-AL)
    Snowe (R-ME)
    Thune (R-SD)
    Vitter (R-LA)
    Voinovich (R-OH)
    Webb (D-VA)
    Wicker (R-MS)

  • genner 06/16/2010 10:07am

    Come on SENATORS, motion to pass UNEMPLOYMENT NOW!!! Worry abot the mumbo jumbo later! I haven’t heard about any doctors who are gonna lose their home if this bill doesn’t pass!!! The unemployment extension should not have been included in this bill it should be it’s OWN bill…

  • Comm_reply
    sofia_24 06/17/2010 10:07am

    Thanks for posting this up!!!

  • stoley1 06/16/2010 10:20am

    Please take the time to bombard these politicians with emails…and be SURE to remember them at election time!!! It’s the only message we can send them!!

  • stoley1 06/16/2010 10:35am

    I am going down the list and emailing every single one that voted against this.

  • jgpt777 06/16/2010 12:27pm





  • JustinAPetersWV 06/16/2010 12:35pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    What we really need is one responsible Senator to come up with a way to pay for $78 billion of the $141 billion the bill costs. It is irresponsible to vote in favor of a bill without a clue as to how to pay for even half of it. The vote that was taken up by the Senate was on this specific issue – whether or not to waive a Senate rule requiring new bills to be financially “offset” (either with additional income/taxes or additional budget cuts elsewhere). I believe that the 52 Senators who voted “Nay” did the right thing for now – they voted against further financial irresponsibility.

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