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Senate Breaks GOP Filibuster of Unemployment Extension, Bill Now Set to Become Law

July 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: I’m traveling, so a little late with the updates here, but it looks like this finally passed earlier this evening by a vote of 59-39. The bill now moves back to the House of Representatives for one more vote. They are expected to hold that vote tomorrow and the bill will most likely be signed into law tomorrow as well.

UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.: The Senate is voting right now on 5 Republican amendments to the bill and will vote on final passage of the bill after these votes. None of the amendments are expected to pass. Under Senate rules, the final vote on passage must happen before 9 p.m. this evening. You can follow along with the votes live on C-SPAN 2.

Original post below…

After 6 weeks of failure and delay, the Senate this afternoon finally voted to end a Republican filibuster of the unemployment insurance extension bill, allowing it to move forward towards final passage and becoming law. The Senate still has to take one more vote on the bill, but the motion they passed this afternoon was the big hurdle that, until now, they had been unable to overcome. The bill is now virtually guaranteed to be signed into law this week.

Sen. Carte Goodwin [D, WV], West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s pick for replacing the late Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV], was sworn-in just moments before the Senate voted on the motion to end the Republican filibuster, and he provided Democrats with the 60th vote they needed to pass it. One Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE], voted with Republicans against the motion, and two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins [R, ME] and Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME], crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats.

Under Senate rules, a vote on pasage of the bill itself must now occur within 30 hours. The vote on passage requires a simple majority of 51 “ayes” to pass, not 60 like the motion to break the filibuster. Since the Democrats have just shown that they have more than 51 votes for the bill, the Republicans may agree to letting the final vote happen before the 30-hour clock has completely run out.

What’s in the Bill?

This bill, H.R. 4213, began as a $141 billion, 426-page omnibus package of stimulus spending, tax measures, unemployment insurance and more. But what the Senate voted to move forward with today (S. Amdt. 4425) is revision of the bill that whittles it down to $34 billion, 13 pages and includes only one substantial item — an extension of unemployment insurance for people who have been out of work for 6 months or longer. You can even see this change reflected in the title of the bill. It was originally called — somewhat awkwardly — the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act.” It has now been renamed simply the “Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.”

The filing deadline for unemployment insurance benfits expired on June 2nd; this bill would extend that deadline until November 30, 2010, allowing unemploed individuals who exhaust their current tier of benefits, or who have exhausted their last tier since June 2nd, can file to move into the next tier of benefits.

The bill also provides for benefits to be paid back retroactively for people who have seen their payments cut off since the filing deadline expired on June 2.

Additionally, it includes an extension of the closing deadline for the first-time homebuyers tax credit, but that provision is redundant with a bill that was signed into law on July 2nd (H.R. 5623). There are also three revenue-raiser provisions in the bill — changes to the Travel Promotion Act, cracking down on tax fraud committed by prisoners, and recessions from the Defense Department budget. These are three provisions are estimated to raise $146 million over the next ten years and generally non-controversial. You can read more about them here.

What’s Not in the Bill?

Tier V — The bill would not create additional weeks of unemployment benefits. 99 weeks (Tier IV) would still be the maximum amount of a time a person could receive benefits for in states with high unemployment rates, and 86 weeks (Tier III) would still be the max in states with low unemployment rates.

Federal Additional Compensation Program — This stimulus program, which provided an extra $25 per week in unemployment benefits payments, would not be extended under the bill. That means that all retroactive payments would be for $25 less than what they were before June 2nd, as will all payments in new tiers.

COBRA — These benefits for helping unemployed people pay for health insurance were dropped from the bill in a previous iteration. They will not be extended in this bill and there is no plan to extend them during this session of Congress.

What Happens Next?

As I mentioned above, the Senate will take one more vote on the bill within the next 30 hours. Once that passes, they will send it over to the House of Representatives, which will vote on agreeing to the Senate’s changes to the bill. The House already has that vote on their schedule for the week, and it is expected to pass easily. After that, the bill will be enrolled and sent to President Obama for his signature. That could happen by the end of the week, possibly even as soon as Wednesday afternoon.

Once the bill is law, state labor departments will immediately begin implementing it and sending out payments. As Annie Lowrey at the Washington Independent explains, these agencies are already preparing for the law, but the combination of high unemployment and uncertainty over what Congress will do with the benefits has given them a real logistical headache and may cause some hiccups in implementation.

To find and share information on how this bill is being implemented in your state, see the Benefit Wiki project on OpenCongress.

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Displaying 151-180 of 395 total comments.

  • pscoley1 07/20/2010 2:59pm

    Can we sue the GOP with a class action lawsuit for all the pain and anguish??? This is not humane!!! or maybe we should just show up at their house for dinner! WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!

  • indimom2010 07/20/2010 3:03pm

    To pscolly1 I just check the Indiana site….it says it will take a couple of weeks for them to restore the extensions. I really do not this this is right.

  • skrapper 07/20/2010 3:10pm

    Give it some time,,, but now you watch the unemployment rate fall!
    Were now no longer being counted, since we can’t receive unemployment benefits anymore. So we will no longer be counted as unemployed, because now we don’t matter anymore. That’s the way the system works in Michigan anyway.
    Keep that in mind for election time too.

  • Comm_reply
    Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:35pm

    You are correct sir. You are ONLY counted if you ARE collecting. Once that stops you dont matter

  • Comm_reply
    proudtobehiswife 07/20/2010 8:22pm

    Actually, there is a sample survey taken every month to calculate the unemployment rate. Unemployment numbers count all that are unemployed and currently seeking work. The reason the numbers fell in 39 states last month is because some people gave up looking for employment, so they are no longer counted, and in some states jobs were created.

  • indimom2010 07/20/2010 3:14pm

    Does anyone know the answer? I have gone back to work ,last week I worked 16 hours this week will be about 36 or 37…. will I still be able to file? By the time they update the system in a few weeks I will have worked 3 or 4 weeks I am not sure what to do …does anyone know? I think they owe me the weeks I did not get paid waiting on them to approve the extension….If anyone know please make a post ….Thank You

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 3:26pm

    The bill is retroactive, so you should get the weeks you were unemployed.

  • Comm_reply
    Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:30pm

    you get paid from June 2nd 2010 till you started working. You may still bve able to claim if u made less than your UI payments. You just subtract what you made and get the balance. Example: UI pays $500. You made $250 working. You still collect $250.

  • skrapper 07/20/2010 3:18pm

    Trust me,,, if all the people who were laid off were accounted for, do you really think Unemployment would be around 10% give or take a few percents.
    What do you think it really would be at?

  • Comm_reply
    Sniperous 07/20/2010 3:34pm

    try the mid 20%. I would guess 26%. Unemployment only counts the people who are collecting UI benefits. There are many more who did not qualify for benefits who are not counted. Many who have already exhausted benefits are not counted as well. If you factor in the undocumented workers the numbers continue to rise. So to avoid that yes they only count people who are “CURRENTLY” collecting

  • Comm_reply
    proudtobehiswife 07/20/2010 7:28pm

    Actually, that is incorrect. Unemployment rates are based on a sample survey taken every month:

  • Comm_reply
    Abaratarrr 07/21/2010 7:49am

    ya if your phone gets disonnected or you move you can not take the survey,

    in my state they are claiming that 60,000 people vanished in the last year causing our unemployment rate to go down even though there are less jobs now then a year ago.

  • Comm_reply
    proudtobehiswife 07/21/2010 8:17am

    There are not enough homeless, unemployed people without phones to make up for a 16% error in the polling. There are 110,000 individuals polled every month. I don’t doubt that the rate may be slightly higher, but not enough to create an error that large.

  • Comm_reply
    skrapper 07/21/2010 1:41pm

    Unemployment is based on checks or calls for your Unemployment. The people working there tell you if you qualify or not. If you don’t “exhausted benefits.” then your not counted.
    Very simple equation.

  • indimom2010 07/20/2010 3:29pm

    Thank You ExGOP so I should claim I am now working and the will pay me the retro? IN the spot how much I earned put that in… and they will still give me the retro pay?

  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 07/20/2010 3:51pm

    Just for the weeks that you actually worked. I don’t know what type of form
    they will send you. Put the amount in for each week you worked. You may get
    something for the week you worked 16 hours.
    Art LeDoux

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 4:25pm

    Yes. Congrats on your new job!

  • skrapper 07/20/2010 3:44pm

    My guess was near 1/3 of the Country Totally Unemployed, and out of benefits.
    That’s a lot of people, and it will still climb.

  • taxthis 07/20/2010 3:45pm

    I have never blogged or commented on anything in my life. This is my 4th time today. This situation that politicians have created for millions of americans is unprecedented in the history of our nation, yet the only people that truly… well, not the only people, I would hope there are people out there that are employed and I pray there are other people that have compassion for their fellow human beings. You are special if you do care. Thank you. This is very personal now. This money is not some special interest project. This is Food, Shelter and clothing to honorable, yes honorable americans. I will do everything non violent in my means to make every politician that no voted or changed the original laws life as a politician miserable. I am not at all like this, but they struck the wrong chord and I am offened by this . Heartless (ist amendment S.O.Bs. )

  • skrapper 07/20/2010 3:51pm

    Make a difference when you vote this November.
    Let them see that the people are tired of who’s pocket their hands are in. They are suppose to work for us, and represent us. I don’t see much of that happening.
    Just a lot of sorrow while they get richer.
    Make a difference at the polls.

  • Comm_reply
    taxthis 07/20/2010 4:41pm


  • indimom2010 07/20/2010 3:53pm

    indimom2010 07/20/2010 7:29pm Link Reply − + 0
    Thank You ExGOP so I should claim I am now working and the will pay me the retro? IN the spot how much I earned put that in… and they will still give me the retro pay?

  • taxthis 07/20/2010 4:01pm

    If I could ring the phone constantly until every politician that voted against this would quit their job I would. If I could bother them constantly so they could not even enjoy one mouthful of food , I would. Am I wrong in feeling this way? I am Angry at these people, I don’t care what their reason was for voting no. U.S. Navy veteran, honorably discharged, Father of 26,25,14 year old. Grandfather of 10 week old, unemployed. I am MAD.

  • trynghard63 07/20/2010 4:03pm

    Ok I went to Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Website and they dont have any new info on there. I guess I will just wait some more to find our anything. sigh………

  • indimom2010 07/20/2010 4:08pm

    Ok so for the weeks I did not get pay they will give me retro pay and since I am now working just enter the amount I have made starting with last week when I received a job. I have not had a check since the end of may with unemployment I was waiting to start tier 3 when I this happened. If anyone knows this please let me know?

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/20/2010 4:37pm


    If you don’t feel comfortably filling out the claim forms the way you just stated, walk into your local Employment Department and they will help you fill out the forms. If HR 4213 becomes law, you will get retroactive pay for the weeks you didn’t work, and possibly partial UI pay for the partial week you worked.

  • Comm_reply
    indimom2010 07/20/2010 5:21pm

    Thank You ExGOP you have been a lot of help. I will fill out the forms when they get them uploaded I really could use the retro pay. I can’t miss work I have just started a job.It is good to see people helping each other during this trying …hard times….Thanks Again and God Bless You

  • txgal68 07/20/2010 4:11pm

    ok for us in Texas does that mean we get our tier 4 benefits?? I’m sooo confused..

  • Comm_reply
    downandout 07/20/2010 4:53pm

    Unfortunantly there is no Tier 4 in Texas. Go to for more info.

  • Comm_reply
    dlharris1189 07/20/2010 6:23pm

    yes there is a tier 4 in tx….i called the ui office today…theres no tier 5 which is the state extension.

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