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Unemployment Insurance Votes Possible in Both Chambers Wednesday

June 30, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

It’s going to be a big day in both chambers of Congress on the issue we’ve been tracking steadily on this blog for weeks — extending unemployment insurance benefits for the millions of unemployed individuals who have had their payments cut off since late May. Here’s what you need to know to follow today’s votes.

After failing on Tuesday to pass a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill under expedited rules, Democrats in the House have tentatively scheduled another vote on the bill for today, this time under normal rules that require only a simply majority of 217 votes to pass. Democrats had 261 votes for the bill yesterday, including the support of 30 Republicans (it didn’t pass because a 2/3rds majority was needed under the rules), so it should have no problems passing today under normal rules. The “rule” governing the debate of the bill that was approved by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday night limits the length of the debate and does not allow for any amendments.

The House bill (H.R. 5618) would extend the filing deadline for extended unemployment insurance benefits until Nov. 30, 2010. It would not create a new fifth tier of benefits for those who have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of benefit payments.

On the Senate side, Democrats Tuesday evening announced their fourth iteration of H.R. 4213, the awkwardly-named “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.” The latest version of the bill is severely trimmed back from what it was a month ago, but it’s still not a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill. In addition to extending the filing deadline for extended unemployment insurance until November 30, 2010, it would extend for three months the closing deadline for first-time homebuyers trying to get the $8,000 tax credit approved in the 2009 stimulus bill. The new version of the Senate bill also contains about $145 million in new revenue raisers, made up of changes to the Travel Promotion Act, recession of Defense funds, and allowing the IRS to disclose prisoners’ tax information to state prison officials.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has filed for cloture (a motion to break a filibuster that requires 60 votes to pass) on Tuesday night, setting up a vote on cloture for Thursday morning at the latest. Reid is hopeful that he can strike a deal with the Republicans to allow the cloture vote to take place this evening because the Senate is scheduled to spend Thursday morning honoring the life of recently-deceased Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV]. Reid has already “filled the tree,” a parliamentary maneuver that blocks anyone else from offering amendments to the bill.

At this moment, Democrats do not seem to have the 60 votes needed to pass cloture. WIth the passing of Sen. Byrd, they now hold 58 Senate seats. Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe [ME] last week sent a letter to Senate Democratic leaders asking for a vote on a stand-alone unemployment bill and is expected to join the Democrats on this vote. But her “yes” vote will only offset Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE], who is expected to vote “no” because the bill is not fully offset with new revenues. So, the Democrats still need two more Republican votes to pass cloture.

Sen. Johnny Isakson [R, GA] has been a main supporter of extending the closing date for the homebuyer tax credit. He even co-sponsored an amendment on it with Reid to a previous version of the bill. Putting the closing date extension in the bill is likely designed to attract Isakson’s support for the full package. But Isakson is up for re-election in November and, like the rest of the Republicans, likely doesn’t want to vote in favor of the $34 billion in new deficit spending for unemployment insurance benefits.

What happens if the Senate does figure out a way to pass its bill? In that case, we would be looking at two different bills — a standalone UI bill in the House and a unemployment/homebuyer tax credit/miscellaneous revenue-raisers bill in the Senate. As you know, both chambers have to pass the same exact version of a bill before it can be signed into law, so some other action to reconcile the two chambers’ differences will have to be taken. The most likely scenario if the Senate passes their bill is that they would just send it over to the House, which should have no problem finding a simple majority in favor to pass it. On Tuesday, the House passed a stand-alone version of the homebuyer tax create closing date extension by an overwhelming vote of 409-5, so clearly its addition to the UI bill only helps with Republican support.

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Displaying 1-30 of 97 total comments.

  • MrHappy 06/29/2010 11:35pm

    I think what is so scary is our illusion of control has been torn away from us. I woke up at 3:30 this morning, worrying about what is going to happen with all of this. Of course I have zero control over any of it. I think many of us have been the bread winners for so long we have forgotten what it is like to be so out of control. I have often heard we are only 9 meals away from anarchy and most people are only 30 days away from homelessness. Maybe we will see if all this is true.

    I think if this does not pass, soon the country will see tent cities, and mass migration not unlike the great depression. I know I have our house for sale, and we will be moving somewhere warmer. Easier to be homeless in warm over cold. My Grandmother used to tell a story of moving from area to area in a covered wagon just to find work. I often wonder if we are going back to that.

  • Comm_reply
    WeThePeopleFightBack2010 06/29/2010 11:43pm

    It would not create a new fifth tier of benefits for those who have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of benefit payments.
    So correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t this saying us 99ers are SOL.

  • Comm_reply
    MrHappy 06/29/2010 11:48pm

    This does not address the 99ers.

  • Comm_reply
    candyla5 06/30/2010 1:03pm

    Oh it addresses the “99ers” all right!! The now-profiled group who have been given a name, the “99ers”, have been totally cut off from unemployment benefits. And they have been unemployed the longest and have, or stand to lose the most!! And just what sense does this make? How did they come up with cutting off the people who have been unemployed the longest? Is it just that they felt they had to make a cut somewhere and the profiled “99ers” were the unlucky group?

    A lot of the people who have been unemployed the longest time have lost homes, personal belongings, vehicles, and worse of all, HOPE. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW THE POLITICIANS OF THIS COUNTRY SLEEP AT NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 06/30/2010 5:25am

    To the 1.2 million jobless americans I thought you would be glad to know that the Republicans let the Democrates get the Small Business Bill through.

    How many Small Business loans will be approved to the jobless workers who are looking at the option of doing a business start up? NONE
    -Poor credit and/or unemployed need not apply.

    Everyone knows that banks, retailers, small or big businesses have the legal right to not interview or hire applicants if they have had any negative information on their credit history report. So on top of everything else the unemployed are trying to keep up with they must be sure to keep a high credit score standing while they are unemployed, in order to have at least a chance to get interviewed after completing MOST companies on-line application and required background information checks.
    - It’s not always about experience, but about the criteria businesses/agencies use to screen applications for employment.

  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 06/30/2010 12:34pm

    There are over 15 million jobless Americans, this figure does not include
    people who have been dropped from unemployment nor those who have had their
    hours drastically reduced. When does it end?
    Art LeDoux

  • Spam Comment

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    Chris51 07/10/2010 9:28pm

    Oil & Gas Industry, history of strong influence in Washington. Individuals and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies have donated $238.7 MILLION to candidates and parties since the 1990 (Bush Senior term) election cycle, 75% of which has gone to REPUBLICANS…
    Former oilmen George W. Bush and Dick Cheney occupied the White House for 8 yrs, the oil and gas industry could not win support for repealing bans on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, Congress voted in 2008 to lift a ban on offshore drilling… Read full story:

    Drilling bans were lifted during Bush’s last months in WhiteHouse in 2008. The After consumers & transportation industry & economy felt the pain of $1-$2 price hikes of gas, during Summer 2007. It was “the straw that broke the Camel’s backs”, PUTTING USA/AMERICANS INTO TAIL SPIN.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 9:29pm

    Letter was written to Senators:
    On behalf of hundreds of thousands of FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to carefully consider all aspects of H.R. 4213…

    If the bill comes to a vote as currently formulated, we encourage you to vote NO, and will track the vote on our Economic Scorecard….

    Signed FreedomWorks President and CEO
    (FreedomWorks funds Tea Party ;)

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    Chris51 07/10/2010 9:30pm

    Sharron Angle a Tea Party favorite:
    If you’ve been following the ongoing Senate campaign of Nevada hopeful Sharron Angle, you know that she’s sick and tired of the long-term unemployed taking home all of those cushy unemployment benefits. Angle’s angle is that these millions of Americans are just living large on the dole and need to have their unemployment benefits terminated so that they will be motivated to go out and get a job — one of the millions of magical jobs that exist in Sharron Angle’s mind!

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    Chris51 07/10/2010 9:32pm

    Republicans only care about one thing, their own job preservation. Reps are working hard to win November’s election with the help of Tea Party Movement (FreedomWorks) and their BIG CONTRIBUTIONS FROM SPECIAL INTEREST.

    Oil&Gas Industry Contribution 2009-2010
    Koch Industries $724,300 14% Dems, 86% Repubs

    Kosh has made big contributions to FreedomWorks, a non-profit that funds Tea Party. These 2 organizations are putting a great deal of pressure on Senators to not support UI Ext. with stimulus that require corporations to help pay back through taxes.

    Most big corporations have made record profits this year by cutting jobs long-term. They started layoffs in 2007, and putting millions of Americans on unemployment.

    They created the business mantra of “DO MORE, WITH LESS”, causing today’s workforce to do more job responsibility with no more pay.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 9:31pm

    Sharron Angle a Tea Party favorite:
    If you’ve been following the ongoing Senate campaign of Nevada hopeful Sharron Angle, you know that she’s sick and tired of the long-term unemployed taking home all of those cushy unemployment benefits. Angle’s angle is that these millions of Americans are just living large on the dole and need to have their unemployment benefits terminated so that they will be motivated to go out and get a job — one of the millions of magical jobs that exist in Sharron Angle’s mind!

  • Comm_reply
    BamaLady 06/30/2010 5:32am

    I hear you, MrHappy. I’ve been unable to sleep for a couple of weeks now. This is on my mind every waking minute. Since the first of June I’ve been monitoring this issue closely, signing petitions, writing Senators and news websites (for their lack of coverage). After I read the somewhat hopeful news of a new standalone bill yesterday I had to make myself stop checking my computer for updates. I didn’t want any more bad news. Everyday has been such a heart sinking let down. It still didn’t help me sleep, though. I thought that unemployment extensions would be there if we needed them. I had no idea they would literally expire the week after I received my 26th UEC check. I now know more about unemployment tiers, Senators, bills, fillibusters and Congress than I every thought I would (or wanted to).

  • Comm_reply
    Tres0607 06/30/2010 8:06am

    I feel like you – “I now know more about unemployment tiers, Senators, bills, fillibusters and Congress than I ever thought I would (or wanted to)” I feel like some sort of a stalker watching this and talking about it is now something I do on a daily basis. All of this “job” stuff is like having a full time job without getting paid for it! : ) The worst part is, I’ve been imagining what I would do in their places and I know full well that if I had one of those Senate or House or Congress jobs I’d be hammering this home without a doubt as I have seen many folks on here that also would be damn good at this stuff. My boyfriend has been calling me a Senator for the past two weeks now. : )

  • Comm_reply
    lfrushone 06/30/2010 8:22am

    My grandmother told me a very long time ago I should have been a politician. Not sure I know I would do the job a lot differently and I think better. I would probably be run out of Washington though.

  • Comm_reply
    soonhomeless 06/30/2010 5:34am

    I am a 99’r… and my husband just lost his job last July, he received his “final” check last week or so we’re told. I have applied for every job in a 50 mile radius 2 or 3 times, there is nothing for professionals, and fast food/convenience stores don’t want ex-professional 40-somethings.

    We’re trying to start our own business… but in this economy who knows what will happen with it.

    Please, pray that this works, we’re praying for all of us.

  • Comm_reply
    GABE1004 06/30/2010 5:59am

    I know the feeling, my wife is working 60 miles away and renting a place there.
    We too, had a business that went belly up, trying to et it started part time and then fulltime. Hand in there, if you can get a foot up on your business in this economy, you can hopefully see your luck turn in 6 to 9 months with the help of the econoomy turing better.


  • Comm_reply
    rosiegirl00 06/30/2010 1:23pm

    Bless you guys. I had one more extension that I could file but now I can’t. Wasn’t much but six weeks worth but I need it! Not my husband has a few more checks and he cannot file either. Don’t know what we will do. Live in our car with a 10 mos. old?! The sad thing is that so many are 99’r and after that there is nothing. What happens to all that expire everthing? And the FedEd that comes after the 4th extension, they claim unemployment isn’t high enough to file for the FedEd. Go to the Welfare office and either you get it and it isn’t enough and you can’t work on the side cuz they will cut it but if your an alien…it’s handed right to you! Fight the battle on your knees!

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    Chris51 07/01/2010 8:37am

    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 a 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 07/01/2010 9:54pm

    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME to Republicans and those few Democrats who blocked several U.I. Ext. bills from passing they turned their backs on THE PEOPLE again.

    Most of these same House Representatives and Senators united to pass bills that gave their Wall Street/Banks SEVERAL billion $$$s in bailouts in 2008, starting with JP MORGAN CHASE, one of the many banks that took advantage of consumers.

    Then their oil companies made billions in profit during the summer of 2008, as they strategically increased gas prices by $1-$2 on Americans at the pump. Americans had to pay for gas to get to work. Soon American’s household budgets were out of balance, and started foreclosing on home loans.

    Your companies stayed fat$$ at the top by cutting jobs, while leaving The People jobless, without Unemployment Insurance, struggling and sadly disillusioned.

  • firestorm145 06/30/2010 12:21am

    Amerucans, it is time to stand up for our rights and fight!!!! Go to the white house lawn and the Congress and Senate and House of Representatives lawn and protest. The americans have fought for the freedom and went to war for these rights where billions of dollars have been spent and where we have no business. It is time to take back what is ours, AMERICA!!!!! The senators that have voted nay, maybe they should be taken to where the homeless and the unemployed are and see what they are doing to America because of their stupidness so they will know. they with their fancy cars and money have no clue what is happening to america because of them and they don’t car as long as they have their fun. FIGHT BACK!!!! TELL THEM THAT WE ARE NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE AND DEMAND TO PASS THE EXTENSION BILL FREEDOM IS OURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    drowe33 06/30/2010 5:04am

    In addition to to protests in DC and State capitols,we should contact the companies we pay our basic bills to(rent/mortgage, utilities, food, and healthcare premiums)and authorize our representatives as payers and have all of these forwarded to them to pay. Then the collections agencies can harass them. Or better still there should be a day designated to send all these outstanding bills to the Senate. Maybe they’ll get the message when the halls of power are are literally blocked with pending bills.

  • MrHappy 06/30/2010 12:41am

    Millions of families are being held hostage by our leaders, in a new game of political brinkmanship. I blame both parties, and both parties leadership… or lack of it. As I see it, this could have been settled months ago, and would have probably looked pretty much the same as it does now. Many are touting this home buy extension but it really effects only about 100000 families. I do think it is a fair thing to do, but come on, compared to the 1.7 million families it really is small potatoes.

    I am ashamed of the Republicans. They finally find the fiscal conservative gene at the worse possible time. Even though I agree that yes the budget should be balanced they should have worried about that 15 trillion dollars/8 years ago.

    The Dems are not without blame either. They have gone on a spending spree the last year, every rejected program over the past 8 years was stuffed into the stimulus bill. 700 billion worth. By the way it has mostly failed.

    Plenty of blame to go around.

  • dawgface19 06/30/2010 2:46am

    I’m a 55 year old vietnam veteran. I’ve been working since I had a paper route in the mid 60’s. My last employment was with a company where I gave my all for nearly 10 years, because I was raised that way. I can’t believe that after nearly 45 years of earning a paycheck & contributing to an unemployment insurance fund, I am only able to collect benefits for 46 weeks! I’ve been looking for employment since being laid off last July. I’ve had to purchase a computer in order to apply for openings because no one will let me do it in person any more. That’s an expence I didn’t need. Now I can’t make my weekly payment so I have to return it. Can’t buy gas to drive to a public libary ,no money. I could walk, I only live 20 miles from the nearest town. I’m trying but sometimes it seems futile. I could go on & on, but what more could I say that might get your ATTENTION !

  • lonnienyssa 06/30/2010 4:22am

    Why is none of this on any of our local news stations??

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 06/30/2010 5:52am

    Once again, Republican defeat a proposed extension of unemployment benefits for workers who have been jobless…

    Yet Congress was able to rushed through SEVERAL billion $$$ bailoutS of Wall Street in 2007-2008. Starting with JPMORGAN CHASE.
    The Wall Street Journal reported a few weeks ago that American corporations have increased their cash reserves to $1.84 TRILLION, the highest figure in history. In other words, big business and the banks, after an unprecedented bailout by the public treasury, are hoarding the funds that could put millions back to work. 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..

    Get in touch with what really is happening by going to and CNN AND FOX ONLY REPORT ON THEIR OWN SELF-INTEREST

  • Comm_reply
    Jonathan_Nicholas 06/30/2010 5:55am

    I watched all evening, and didn’t see ANYTHING about this. Unbelievable.

    Leave a message at CNN, asking for more coverage…

    CNN Feedback:
    SUBJECT: “Unemployment vote-Congress”
    COMMENT: “unemployed U.S. citizens need help, and deserve more coverage.”

  • Comm_reply
    cghobbs 06/30/2010 11:32am

    I would like to know why the news media is choosing to cover up this crisis!

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