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The Shrinking Unemployment Bill

June 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Once again, Democrats are downsizing H.R. 4213, the unemployment insurance/tax extenders bill, in order to lessen its impact on the deficit and round up the support to pass it. The bill has been floundering in the Senate for weeks, and yesterday, it officially stalled out after the Democrats failed 45-52 to overcome an important procedural hurdle requiring 60 votes to pass.

According to Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT] and the Senate Finance Committee, these are the big changes in the revised bill:

  • Shorten the Medicare payment cut patch, or “doc fix,” from 19 months to 6 months — Doctors are currently facing a 22% cut in their Medicare payments under an automatic pay formula that Congress created in 1997. The formula has recommended pay cuts for the past 7 years, but each year Congress has overridden it by passing temporary temporary patches. By shortening the length of the current patch by 13 months, the bill, technically, costs $16.4 billion less. But these savings are pretty cheap because Congress will almost certainly be back in 6 months when this patch expires to extend it again.
  • Eliminating the Federal Additional Compensation program — This is a stimulus program that provides an extra $25 per week for people receiving extended unemployment benefits. Eliminating it saves $5.8 billion over the next ten years.
  • Changes in the carried interest tax loophole closer — One of the big revenue raisers in the bill is a provisions to partially close a loophole in the tax code that lets hedge-fund and private-equity managers pay the lower capital gains rate (15%) on the cut they take from the appreciation of their clients’ portfolios rather than the regular income tax rate (up to 39%). In the Democrats’ last revision of H.R. 4213, they softened this provision to satisfy the influential hedge fund industry. In this revision, they are tightening it back up a bit by increasing how much of their income hedge fund managers old have to pay at the regular rate. This change would bring in an extra $13.9 billion over the next ten years.

There are also several smaller changes in the revision that you can see by downloading this PDF from the Finance Committee. In total, the revision takes a little more than $20 billion off the total deficit impact of the bill. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the revised bill would cost $105 billion and its net deficit impact would be $55 billion.

The big question: are these changes significant enough to win over the 12 Democrats who voted against the bill yesterday plus at least one Republican? That’s what it’s going to take for the Democrats to break a Republican filibuster and get this through the Senate.

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Displaying 31-43 of 43 total comments.

  • general 06/17/2010 10:25am

    Do these guys have any idea how important 100$ a month is now they want to take that these guys are really out of touch.

  • Comm_reply
    KASwann 06/17/2010 10:57am

    The 100.00 is not as important as HAVING benefits. ( I was cut off after a 26 weeks) May 29th. No more tiers, nothing for me….. how do you like that?
    I think if I would have been on Tier two at May 22 date I would still be getting benefits, ( from what I was told) I fell thru some HUGE crack.. the 100.00 is coffee & doughnut money to congress.

  • BillSherlock 06/17/2010 10:28am

    Hey chickenfighterky, That fine distinguished gentleman that you mention-The Honorable Dick Durbin happens to represent my state-you know the one—-we don’t allow our governors to retire-WE LOCK EM UP!!!! A vast amount of people would be willing to trade you for Mr. Durbin (me included)—what do you have to offer?
    Once his term is up you won’t be seeing him anymore. If you don’t want to trade we’ll understand.

  • Comm_reply
    chickenfighterky 06/17/2010 11:24am

    Hey bill, to be honest I’m from KY and I dont think you’d want what us folks have to offer lol (mcconnell, and bunning). But Mr. Sherlock I will make you this offer I’ll give you one “Lame-Duck” Sen. Bunning with a fresh pack of wrigley’s chewing gum for your Mr. Durbin. I would offer more but seeing how my unemployment ran out I have to use my college education and military experience to pick up pop cans for what little money I do have now……

  • Comm_reply
    chickenfighterky 06/17/2010 11:29am

    Being the great baseball player he was, just think of all the revenue Bunning could bring in by selling autographs because of his vast popularity. He could possibly singlehandedly balance the budget by signing baseballs to sell the chineese since they already own everything else in this country..

  • catsat43 06/17/2010 10:47am
    I have worked for most of my life and for no fault of my own I am jobless. I am not sitting on my butt just to collect unemployment. I have hit the streets and cyberspace looking. I think of all the BILLIONS being sent to other countries and to bail out the big guys, that I have helped pay for. Congress your first responsibility is your people. REMEMBER United we stand, Divided we fall. And as a last note, I would go to DC for a peacful stand but my car was repoed last week. Thanks to the American dream…..
  • jennyrebecca66 06/17/2010 11:43am

    I am extremely frustrated as well. Started receiving benefits 6 months ago from a job I was at for 4 years, the company is no longer in existence and I miss my job terribly. Just finished tier 2, have no idea how these tiers work. I looked and they have already moved me to level 15 which is the federal-state benefits that have not been approved but it appears that even if approved there is enough money in the account for at least 12 weeks but it only goes through July 3rd which is 4 weeks. Very confusing. I just know I am 2 1/2 payments away from having my car paid off and right now have $2 in my bank account. Forget about groceries. Wonder how much this will cost in stress related health care?

  • bachi1314 06/17/2010 5:10pm

    I serve working people that have been laid off. I help folks get information and apply for resources that are available in my community. In my 15 years I have never seeing so many folks struggling to make ends meet. Folks losing jobs and losing the American dream. It is truly a travesty that here in the strongest country in the world we forget to take care of our own. I am sure if we didn’t send all those jobs overseas we would have work here for AMERICANS. That needs to Stop or one day we will all be working for someone in China. Right now we have a chance to give folks the break they need to make ends meet. DO THE RIGHT THING AND PASS THIS, give folks hope in America. For those who don’t support 4213 shame on you. Shame on you for forget why you were elected to office. Let me remind you that you are to SERVE THE PEOPLE or we will remember in November.

  • emanrod 06/17/2010 5:13pm

    Im currently going to school for medical assistant and will finish in the fall, i was counting on receiving the fed-ed until then. Ive been going to school through all the extensions and now I dont have money to finish. The worst thing is that the fed-ed was suspended just as soon as i finished my 4th tier. If i would have had some kind of warning before i finished i could have at least been prepared. Now I have no money, and all my schooling might go to waste. Theres no jobs in my town, which is why i went back to school and get a stable career.

  • spammie5 06/18/2010 5:36am

    I too fell into that gap of exhausting my state benefits just 10 days after the deadline to file for the federally funded benefits. I owned my own business – that’s gone. Had 2 vehicles – those are gone. Had a home too. That’s gone. I’ve worked my entire life, paid taxes, got an education but I can’t find a job either. And for every one of us that posts on here, there are probably hundreds if not thousands more in similar situations.

    It’s just sad that at a time when this country really needs to come together to pull itself out of this economic situation, some political yahoos in DC can’t agree on this.

    Funny, all the ones voting on the unemployment bill have jobs. They have no idea….

  • kstiffler 06/18/2010 2:44pm

    I do not understand if congress knew a deadline was coming up why they waited till it expired to debate for weeks on end. Don’t they understand this is not about who wins or loses. It is about thousands upon thousands of people who’s lives are held in the balance. It is about more foreclosures,repo’s,credit problems. On the other hand I know there are people that might argue that those on unemployment knew there was a deadline why didn’t we take the time to find a job before then. Truth be told I know my husband and have. People argue there are jobs available and time after time we’ve applied for anything and everything only to be told you are overqualified or underqualified. Frustrating!!!!

  • Chris51 07/03/2010 10:14pm

    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 7:18am

    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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