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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 31-60 of 97 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 06/30/2010 6:37am

    • 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
    cghobbs 06/30/2010 11:31am

    I’ve been wondering why that is for a LONG time now!

  • Shannonm93 06/30/2010 4:26am

    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.

    Despite the fact that according to the Georgia Department of Labor, unemployment in the state of Georgia is at 10.2% (which is above the national level of 9.7%)!

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

    Apparently, we the unemployed are not a priority to those in the media(they have jobs). They would rather cover the disgraced general, BP, etc. than looking out for their own. They have no idea what it is like for us to have to scavenge for bits of news that mean everything to us.

  • Comm_reply
    GABE1004 06/30/2010 6:03am

    We listen to the media alot these days, its our fault for there strengths and seems they are skewed either for or against the goverment.


  • craines 06/30/2010 4:27am

    Both our houses are for sale and no-one I mean on-one has looked at them since the $8000.00 tax credit has stopped. And to top it off if they don’t pass this unemployment bill I’ll be calling the bank and telling them I can’t make the payments.
    I will not be able to make a payment on the taxes, nothing will get paid. Right now were
    trying to figure out if we want to have a rummage sale and take what ever we can get and go to Canada and try to start over.
    America is screwed up, they let all our jobs go over seas and they are not coming back.
    They don’t want to build powerhouses and they don’t want to build anything to put construction workers back to work, they going let our pensions go down the drain.
    I say the republicans are going in for the kill right while they can, they want to wipe out the unions, their pensions, elem-ate us.
    In 12 months we going have people in the streets like never before, Our nerves are shot,
    there’s no peace, pretty soon we wont have nothing to lose

  • MrHappy 06/30/2010 4:29am

    Local and nation news is in the business of selling advertisement time.

    How much disposable income does the unemployed really have?

    Look at the news on any day and the lead stories, do you really think that is the most important things that happened in the past X hours? I don’t trust most news services, and papers.

  • lonnienyssa 06/30/2010 4:33am

    Good Morning all!!! I have been up for hours awaiting a vote on the extension…. I feel it may all be for nothing. Does anyone know about what time cspan will have this vote on?

  • MrHappy 06/30/2010 4:34am

    Senate maybe today, more like tomorrow. No word on the house.

  • lonnienyssa 06/30/2010 5:04am

    S. Dick Durhim (SP)

    Deserves a medal he is telling the senate that the extension needs to pushed through before they go on break because 1.2 million americans will not be celebrating the 4th. You go boy tell them the truth. Make them act!!!

  • Comm_reply
    ccofbuffalo 06/30/2010 5:29am

    that was great of Dick Durhim but hopefully someone listens and gets this done

  • Ktula7 06/30/2010 5:13am

    Please pass this extension before you go on break. Even still it will take the unemployment offices a week or two before they can even get back online to help everyone that has been effected by this in the past several weeks. They are already going to be backed up enough without having to deal with an extra 800,000 people by the end of next week if this isn’t passed! Please!

  • SVEGASGIRL 06/30/2010 5:28am


  • XvxRAINxvX 06/30/2010 5:28am

    This is it people the make or break day. If they can’t pass it today then they won’t pass it today or come to an agreement then it will not get done before the 4th. I’m praying that they do something today

  • Comm_reply
    GABE1004 06/30/2010 6:05am

    I am hopeful it will be today.


  • DoodleBooMom 06/30/2010 5:30am

    I’m not even unemployed but already being affected. My exhusband had not paid child support in more than a year, even when receiving benefits, I finally got him in front of a judge on June 3, and the judge ordered him to begin paying, and included an income deduction order dated effective June 1. Guess when his last benefit check was? Two weeks prior to that! My electric is being disc this week, can’t afford day care next, phone/internet was turned off today (not a luxury, my teenager is taking online classes to help him graduate on schedule). There is not enough food to get to my next payday, and I used coins to put gas in my car for work today (if we lived in a mass transit friendly city, I would do that instead!). While nearly 2 million families are directly affected by the discontinuation of benefits, trust me, the repercussions extend much further than just the unemployment recipients!!

  • ccofbuffalo 06/30/2010 5:31am

    Im getting a headache switching back and forth from one chamber to the other both are talking about unemployment but i guess thats good that they are maybe will get passed somehow

  • Comm_reply
    GABE1004 06/30/2010 6:04am

    YES, I agee with you one way or another it will be passed.


  • dvaughn2071 06/30/2010 5:32am

    I have always been proud to be an American…until recently.To watch as our leaders turn their backs on the 1.2 million unemployed who are unemployed still because they have not done their part creating jobs.We were recieving unemployment because we have worked and contributed to our communities.We are not drug addicted bums who do not want to work.I spend more time looking for a job than i did working on my last job.We may not have the republicans support now,but come november they will be begging for our support….Which they will not get.What they have done to us cannot be over looked.We must vote them out.Even if a couple republicans side with us and restore our unemployment,this does not make up for the sleepless nights and all the time spent worrying about if it will pass or not.Are there any poor people out there living week to week who actualy support the republicans and feel we should not help the unemployed?

  • Comm_reply
    DoodleBooMom 06/30/2010 5:38am

    I do not agree with alot of the pork added to the initial bill, and do think the lawmakers need to find a way to pay for this, not just continue deficit spending, but also do believe that no one in Washington should leave for the holiday weekend without finding the cuts elsewhere to pay for the unemployment extension. They found the money to bail out banks and large corporations, and the economy still tanked, they should have bailed out the citizens and the recession would have stopped because spending would have continued. The recession will be lengthened if they don’t find a way to restore unemployment benefits, there is no recovery if families are out on the street, and have no income for food.

  • Comm_reply
    GABE1004 06/30/2010 5:53am

    Pork might be spending needed in another area that is unaware to like minded individuals like myself and you.

    But, having said that, I agree that some of the construction projects that bare the name of elected officials should be cut to make way for needed moneys in different areas. Maybe our elected officials should take a pay cut to stimulate public opinion on there behalf.


  • Rationalview 06/30/2010 5:34am

    I know that I have posted this info before but everytime I think of it, I am more and more in disbelief. Republican NJ Governor Christie reportedly is going to revamp unemployment laws for his state. AND he wants to keep $50 A WEEK from each person’s unemployment check for the state citing that NJ needs it more than the citizens who have put their money and sweat into the unemployment fund for years and years. He made this announcement and said that the NJ unemployed should be grateful because these people are getting one of the highest monetary unemployment benefits in the country – so, I guess it is okay to take $50 of needed food money from their mouths.

  • Comm_reply
    GABE1004 06/30/2010 5:55am

    NJ Govenor Chistie has a bigger agenda in his eye sights, namely to be on the national stage. Once he gets there, he will forget New Jersey.


  • lonnienyssa 06/30/2010 5:41am

    you rep john lewis with your bad self. He yelled at the ones who voted no yesterday and told them they should be ashamed of themselves. YOU GO BOY!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    ccofbuffalo 06/30/2010 6:10am

    thats what i was yelling at the tv lol literally yelling YOU GO BOY i think this whole thing has given me a mental defect

  • jillyb2 06/30/2010 5:48am

    I will be praying today for my family and for all the unemployed Americans out there that this will be the answer we have been waiting for. Something has GOT to be resolved this week so that we can celebrate out great country on the 4th of July without worrying how we will feed our kids.

  • indimom2010 06/30/2010 5:56am

    Does anyone know what time they will vote today? If it does pass how soon can we file our claims?

  • tiredofbeingtired 06/30/2010 6:15am

    Sorry, still sketable, even if they do pass this bill, no one will see any money for a minute. How long does it even take to go through the process? I’ve personally just come to the conclusion, that this country is officially sad on so many levels. It’s nice to know that hardworking people really don’t matter. I wish an ordinary unemployed american actually ran against them in the upcoming election.

  • Iamamerican33 06/30/2010 6:17am

    I have both C-Span 1 and 2 streaming and my background is the OpenCongress pg. Yes, it is like watching everyone’s children playing in the street… My nerves are shot but I am so anxious for good news and praying for all of us who have had our jobs taken away. I pray for America in general. Part of me feels like we are headed the way of the Roman Empire, while another part of me believes so much in Our America that somehow we will pull through this. May we all hold onto our faith in “WE THE PEOPLE” and pull the positive from the depths of our gut. My focus right now is getting through school (stimulus classes)and praying for the extention AND for the 99’s to get more help as well. We will all be 99’s soon but as for our country… my heart is all over the place. In crisis, we are!

  • icansnchez79 06/30/2010 6:37am

    I know it is so sad to here all of these stories and that is our reality. I think that most of us did not expected this,that is the worst part. I also am having a hard time finding a “regular” job even though my background is a professional one. It’s like I am over qualified and it is so frustrating to live in a country that is suppose to be the best country in the world yet he brightest, hard working people can’t find just a job, not a career, a job! How crazy is that? I’m going to keep working hard at trying to survive this situation and I do hope they pass this bill to at least give us a little more time to land a job. My prayers are out to all of you and specially the ones with family. I hope that I will never have to go through something like this again.

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