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GOP Blocks Unemployment Insurance Bill, Senate Leaves for July 4th Recess

June 30, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

For the fourth time in a month, Senate Democrats on Wednesday night failed to win enough votes to overcome a Republican filibuster of a bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits (H.R. 4213). After the failed vote, the Senate adjourned for recess until July 12th.

“It is beyond disappointing that Republicans continue to stand almost lockstep against assistance for out-of-work Americans – especially since many of these same Republicans spent months protecting Wall Street and preserving tax cuts for CEOs who ship American jobs overseas,” Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] said after the vote.

The final tally was 58-38. 60 votes were needed under Senate rules to pass the motion on breaking the filibuster known as “cloture”. Majority Leader Reid voted “no” on the bill in order to preserve his right under Senate rules to bring the bill up again in the future for another vote, so the Democrats were actually just one vote shy of passing the motion. Republicans Sen. Susan Collins [ME] and Sen. Olympia Snowe [ME] voted with Democrats in favor of the bill. Conservative Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans agains it.

Sen. George Voinovich [R, OH] said after the vote that he would have provided the one vote Democrats needed to pass the cloture motion if some of it was paid for with money from the stimulus bill. “In order to move forward, yesterday I told Leader Reid that I would support extending unemployment insurance if Democrats would be willing to use some of the estimated $40 billion in unspent stimulus monies to help offset at least half of the stand-alone unemployment insurance extension," Voinovich said. “He flatly rejected this request even though Democratic Leadership was going to take $10 billion from the stimulus to help pay for business tax breaks just last week.”

After the vote, Reid said that the Senate will not vote on the bill again until a replacement for recently-deceased Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV] is seated in the Senate. West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D) is in charge of appointing a replacement and he will likely do so over the July 4th recess.

By the time the Senate reconvenes on July 12, data from the Labor Department suggests that more than 2 million unemployed Americans will see their unemployment insurance benefits cut off due to the Republicans’ objections to the extension bill. Benefits began expiring for people on June 1st when the last extension of the benefits expired. Before then, unemployed individual were eligible for up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits under an extended, four-tier federal program created by the 2009 stimulus bill. Now that the federal program has been allowed to expire, newly unemployed individuals are eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks of state-provided benefits.

Still, people who have had their benefits cut off in the past month should expect to become eligible once again for the full 99 weeks and to have their lost benefits paid back to them retroactively. Wednesday’s vote makes it clear that as soon as a replacement for Byrd is seated in the Senate, the Democrats will have the 60 votes they need to overcome Republican opposition and pass the bill.

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Displaying 1-30 of 185 total comments.

  • laidbackjt 06/30/2010 10:19pm

    I hope congress chokes on their fat Independence Day meals, while I try to scrape up some change to eat ramen noodles because I can barley afford to pay my rent. I apply for countless jobs a day, I don’t do drugs and I am far from lazy. When I cant work I volunteer. I’m over qualified for 90% of the jobs I apply for and I rarely get a call back or response to my application. Congress decides to play bipartisan games mean while 2 million Americans are struggling to make ends meet. People struggle all over the world but in this case congress CAN do something about it but they chose to PLAY GAMES with peoples lives. I have worked very hard my entire life, I have been unemployed just over 6 months and I don’t have debt. I AM FURIOUS at how they are treating people like me! DO YOUR GOD DAMN JOBS AND HELP AMERICANS! I will not listen to people say “wait until November”. Who is going to pay my rent right now? Who is going to help me put food on my table? I have payed my taxes and I need help!

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    Lanah 07/01/2010 3:11am

    I agree, they don’t care that I’m votin gthem out in Novmeber. Whole in the hell knows where or what state of being I will be in November.I have written politicians over and over again,,,, for what? Burr and Myrick of NC have voted NAY EVERY SINGLE TIME TO EXTENSIONS since JANUARY. I’m tired of writing politicians, I’m tirred of being turned down for employment, I’m tired of worrying how I’m going to make ends meet with a customer service job that pays 8.75 an hr and refuses to give you anywhere near 20 hours a week of work. and just think a year and half a go I was a young female Architect with a promising future. F^ck being an Architect, f^ck THAT promising future. I should’ve went with my sister to Germany. I never thought I would be struggling as much as she is, but guess what I’m doing worse.

    F^ck this country, you can slap me if you find me celebrating anything this Fourth of July!

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    charulata 07/01/2010 7:10am


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    onecent301 07/01/2010 9:01am

    These “elected” officials in congress are so unprofessional. I watched them on CSPAN and they are fighting with each other. I think this bill is no longer about the unemployed people, it is about who will win the argument. Wow, grow up congress, put your petty hatred for each other aside and address the problem, over 1.2 million people may very well be homeless if they don’t so something!

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    worrieddaddy 07/01/2010 7:36am

    I totally agree with you 200%! I used to be a very successful Cad Drafter making 50,000 plus a year until my company (Cox Communications) closed it’s doors leaving about 40% of us with no job or future for that matter. That was in September of 2008! I am a hard working Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, a father of 3 beautiful kids under 8 years old, and like laidbackjt above I am 90% over qualified in an industry based on the growth and new building of our country. So when is the point that the people I “voted” will start doing something to help people like us and ANY damn American in need. So take your votes, wrap it around your multi-billion dollar bills passed for the sake of the rich staying rich and shove and sit on it! GIVE US OUR COUNTRY BACK NOW… “We the People can not wait until November for sh*t we should have had today!”

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    tweetybird499 07/01/2010 3:32am

    You know I was watching Cspan almost all day yesterday along with my 12 year old. At one point one of the votes on the table was to Nationally acknowledge some town in CA for it’s 100th birthday. My Daughter looks at me and says “Why are they voting on this? Instead they could be voting on helping the homeless or even your unemployment dad” When my 12 year old can make better decisions then the men and women in congress then I think it is time for a freakin change.

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    bobbybixler 07/01/2010 4:40am

    It’s not going to do any good to sit around and cry. To those who run the country and have jobs, we all look like a bunch of bums sitting on the street corner looking for hand outs.

    WHAT WE NEED TO DO: Get involved in politics. Lobbyists run this country. Start investigating how they spend their money. We just need to snag a few Senators on the take and the whole thing will unravel. Trust me, the corruption based on what lobbyists are spending (around $1 million per Congressman), is going to more than travel expenses and lunches.

    I’ve decided it’s the only way to get even. Go after the people who are taking us down. There are enough public records on the internet that will expose people. Get this information and send it to the media—they will take action if the information is spicy enough.

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    fanofjims 07/07/2010 5:31am

    I like the sentiment here but the problem is the country is no longer “All for One”. We are so divided by not only our politics, religion and personal views but also by our human compassion levels. There was a time in American history we would fight and die for what was right in order for future generations to thrive. Today we put more emotion and concern into someone interrupting our cell phone conversations. This country has divided itself into so many different directions that we may as well change our name to "The States’ because we are far from being United.
    Peace, James

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    NewOakie 07/01/2010 8:09am

    I’ve written and written and written until my fingers were sore, called, pleaded.

    It’s time for action! MARCH ON WASHINGTON, JULY 12th. Are we sheeple or people who will stand up and fight for our rights? It’s pretty damn clear no one else is.

    People in other countries demonstrate at the drop of a hat. Do they have greater self-esteem and guts than us?

    Further, if you’re strapped for money come next April 15th, don’t pay your taxes. Let’s see the IRS put 5 million people in jail.

    Our voices are going unheard. Time to raise the level.

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    Chris51 07/03/2010 9:53pm

    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 06/30/2010 10:20pm

    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

  • kathyjo 06/30/2010 10:30pm

    Calla,letters and Emails aren’t going to help…..they’ve had THOUSANDS of letters and calls. The Republicans do not care and they don’t think they’ll lose their seat over it either.

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    notstupid 07/01/2010 1:45am



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    chelly 07/01/2010 2:40am

    That is a good idea, we are definitely in distress right now!

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    notstupid 07/01/2010 5:58am

    Yes, and it’s legal. Please do it and pass it on!

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    Lanah 07/01/2010 2:56am


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    bksue1 07/01/2010 3:19am

    I have already changed my Facebook profile pic to the upside down flag, and urge others to do the same in protest of the distress we are in.

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    ohcraplookwhosincharge 07/01/2010 8:22am

    Superb idea……Let the whorehouse media see everyone’s flags flying upside down and I’m sure they will catch on……Great idea !!! Outside my home and on my FB page will be the Upside Down American Flag to show that this country does not care for it’s People or stand for anything anymore……I hope a lot of people will do this……thank you

  • ForgottenCitizen 06/30/2010 11:24pm

    America has quickly become a ‘business’ run by businessmen, for businessmen. What the Republicans are doing is simply a mass layoff of the workforce. They keep spouting that we would be passing the debt onto our grandchildren, but what about all of the children that will be homeless right now because of their decisions? They dont matter? The cart keeps being put in front of the horse when they’d rather pass tax breaks and loans for business instead of keeping people in their homes. Tax breaks and loans will not spur small businees to hire people. The only thing that will cause them to hire is if there is a demand for their products. How is demand created? When people have money to buy things! The Republicans will be responsible for ‘The New Homeless’ and I hope all of the hard working regular citizens will remember in November. Let’s organize and show them that you cant put big business above needs of the citizens.

  • ForgottenCitizen 06/30/2010 11:26pm

    If you are going to be heavily impacted (ie. homeless) by this foot dragging going on in Congress then join up with others who are also impacted, and as a large group make yourselves seen. Create huge tent cities right in the middle of your town, protest in droves. Make sure the sight of your suffering cannot be ignored by the media. The more you gather together, the more effective the impact will be.

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    comments11660 07/01/2010 2:50am

    If the 2 million (along with their families and friends who will ultimately be impacted by this once they can no longer support themselves) who are “hugely impacted”, as in no income and homeless soon, will pick a day like July 2nd to boycott all purchases such as gasoline, groceries, and all mall purchases and electronics, we can make our voices heard on capital hill, but there must be collective cooperation not just a handful, then the Republicrats will move to resolve this issue of stopped UI benefits. Those of you who think this is just a Republican stalemate are sorely mistaken so when you “do” vote to replace the Republicans vote to replace the Democrats as well, vote to replace all incumbents who are voting to tear down our free republic. I am going to as far as I am concerned if you are in incumbent I will be looking for your replacement to vote for.

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    Lanah 07/01/2010 3:00am

    I would gladly do this,,since i have no money to spend anyway. But how do we get all 2 million to do it.

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    jpocalips1 07/01/2010 7:16am

    I totally agree both parties are completely out of control. Not only should they be voted out, if any are found to be involved, in out sourcing of jobs from our country, fraud, receiving funds illegally from special interest groups, big oil companies, etc., let them be tried in court, like any other American citizen.If found guilty, be sent to prison, stripped of their retirement, medical benefits, and have all assets seized, gained from their illegal activities. Let them to live by the laws, they impose on the rest of us. Clearly the time is now, to make a stand, and take this Great Nation back. It’s our right, it’s our duty, to return this country back to the people. Sent a message to Capital Hill, we the people of the United States of America, are no longer going to allow, you to trample our constitution, our bill of rights, serve with honor, or remove yourself from office.

  • SpiritualNetwork 06/30/2010 11:53pm

    A bit of consideration for their fellow Amercians would help here. One can only wonder, what congressmen’s consciousness tells them when they lay on the beach. If they can find an internal peace despite of their action, that would be a miracle.

  • jimmyc1065 07/01/2010 12:50am

    Well now that I have to get out of my house by the 5th of July because the bank is taking it I hope the Republicans are happy. I have worked hard all my life and have never been unemployed until now. I am also a combat vet which I guess don’t mean anything to the politicians. Now that I am totally out of money and destitude I guess I’ll be living in my car until it gets repossed, then I’ll probably be living on the street and it scares the hell out of me. What has happened to our country? While all the politicians make millions, bail out the bankers, and have the ultimate medical care, retirement after one term, then have sentenced me to death. Which is probably what will probably happen this winter and it scares the hell out of me. God help me.

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    worrieddaddy 07/01/2010 8:05am

    It really breaks my heart to read what you have wrote. I am in a tough state of being as well but I do have a roof over my head (thanks to my wife landing a job right before my benefits were set to expire). My prayers are with you and yours during the next two weeks while the people responsible sip mai tai’s at Lake Las Vegas discussing how to take more away from the “PEOPLE” who paid for them. Keep your head up jimmyc1065…

  • CAL 07/01/2010 12:56am

    I am really disappointed with all these people in congress specifically the way they are doing their job. I just dont understand why (per this article) HR 4213 again was voted on when it already failed many times and requires massive revision because of the other stuff attached to it. I was actually hoping to hear about the “stand-alone bill”…HR 5618 (McDermott) and S3520 (Stabenow)??? which specifically and immediately will address the UI extension problem and leave the rest for later debate. Whe I was watching CSPAN yesterday I was just heartbroken to see these clowns acted like this matter does not require some sense of urgency…Obama talked about this today in his visit to Racine, WI but he needs to do more and step-in because obviously nothing is getting done here while millions of americans are suffering. PATHETIC!!!

  • pwood9494 07/01/2010 1:01am

    Well I hope all you Senators have a great 4th. I wonder if Vegas is taking odds that there will be at least 1 of the 14,000,000 Unemployed Americans Snap and do something stupid. This would not surprise me one bit.

    Here is what I am going to do. I live in Florida. Charlie Crist appointed George Lemieux Senator, Sen. George Lemieux voted against Unemployment Extension, therefore I will vote against Charlie Crist. Who gets my vote in November; Jeff Greene or Kendrick Meeks?

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    comments11660 07/01/2010 3:11am

    I couldn’t agree with you more. While all the fat cat’s on capital hill are vacationing this 4th I wonder how many unemployed no longer receiving benefits will be backing and moving because they can no longer pay their rent/mortgages? Enjoy your vacation Congress you cold hearted bunch of do nothing for the nation self centered nation loathing bunch of can we say lame ducks?!!! I say replace the Republicrats!!! The Democrats were just as guilty as the Republicans in our nations economic crash!

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    jbbeesley 07/01/2010 7:14am

    I live in Florida and I am also a registered Republican (very sad to say and disappointed in the Republican party) but none of them will get my vote either this come around in November.. I really think I want to go sit on Sen. George Lemieux lawn on 4th of July… Let him remember exactly who he is working for…….

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