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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 31-60 of 395 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:21am

    The next vote only requires 51 votes so it should pretty much be over at this point I’m pretty sure. I think the only thing that the Republicans can do now is stall us for another 30 hours or so. And if they do, I will take it personally for sure! Congress is already expecting the bill at their doorstep and is ready to sign it and then off the President Obama. It has the potential of being passed as early as Wednesday. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. We’ve waited long enough!

  • mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 10:42am

    I DON’T MEAN TO RAIN ON EVERYONE’S PARADE. BUT IF YOU’RE STILL UNABLE TO FIND A JOB BY NOV 30th WE WILL ALL BE RIGHT BACK HERE AGAIN! They need to start working on a LONG TERM SOLUTION NOW! I don’t think 15 million job openings are going to be available come NOV 30th!!!

  • Comm_reply
    comments5647 07/20/2010 11:15am

    @mikes1lakerfan Keep praying and emailing congress …

  • Comm_reply
    Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:19am

    You are right…I’ll be here in full support!

  • Comm_reply
    WeThePeopleFightBack2010 07/20/2010 12:34pm

    Your so right there. I am a 99, so this bill does not help me at all, but I’m very happy they passed it for all the people behind me. I sure hope the economy really is better for all of you come the end of Nov. All I was able to find was a p/t job at minimum wage. I’m lucky to have that, but try and survive on it. Unemployment is only a temporary fix, we need our jobs brought back to America. Bring back our factories!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 07/20/2010 12:44pm

    I heard on MSNBC the president said we must get something started now to help
    the long term unemployment situation so we are not in the same boat come
    November. Let’s hope they can come up with something to create jobs and stop
    the madness caused by not knowing if or what we’ll have in the weeks to come.
    It’s difficult to go to a job interview after you’ve slept in your car(if
    your lucky to even have one), It’s hard to feed your child from a dollar menu
    with the change you find on the car floor. We deserve and need something we
    can count on! So senators and Congressman this is your next mission, use the
    unallocated stimulus and come up with a plan for the working families of the
    Art LeDoux

  • trynghard63 07/20/2010 10:56am

    They need to bring jobs back that were sent to Mexico and China and for the companys that out source to those countries well they need to be heavily taxed. Get illeagles back to where they came from untill they comes here the right way. This would creat more jobs for the unemployed. If they put as much energy into creating jobs, bringing back jobs as they do into planning thier vacations, our economy might straighten up! Next time you go shopping look and see how few things are made in the USA anymore. Stop the Big Buisness and company greed andBring jobs back to our country,

  • Comm_reply
    Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:18am

    Agreed, I called my phone Company the other day and I specifically asked where I was calling and he replied “the Phillipines”. I even felt a need to say something to him regarding how our Country is unbelievable and that here I am unemployed and calling a California based company’s help line located in the Phillipines. I must say, it’s an outrage and needs to be stopped. I think the Companies that are outsourcing any work should be fined heavily for it! That will pay down the debt real fast!!!

  • Comm_reply
    skrapper 07/20/2010 1:13pm

    tryinghard63: I agree at least 110%. Give us or jobs back, and we don’t need Unemployment. George Bush Designed NAFTA, and Bill Clinton signed it into law.
    Clinton got BIGGG Money for this, that’s how this Country stayed in the Black.
    His agreement was when he was out of office for Possibly 10 yrs., these foreign countries would start getting our jobs. Well they have had them long enough!!! It’s time to put a end to NAFTA, and put this country back to work.
    We have a new President in Office, do the right thing and put this Country back to work.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/20/2010 2:32pm

    The prayers from millions of Americans and their families have been answered. The USA is still in serious trouble, as there are millions who are left to turn to welfare assistance if they have passed the 99 weeks on unemployment.

    Americans still have a long ways to go. The money and power is still going to the hands of politicians, Special Interests groups, big corporations, and a few wealthy families.
    The damage they caused from 2000-2008 and NAFTA is irreversible, and USA’s lower and middle income households will continue to struggle. This is not good for our nation.

  • desperatentx 07/20/2010 11:01am

    this news has turned my frown upside down back into a smile!!! lets get this done a.s.a.p…..thank you Lord!!!

  • Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:14am

    It’s true…There is still work to be done, so for those of us that feel the victory, by all means, smile and feel relieved. But also, please be back tomorrow and the next day, and so on. There are those of us that are still due a payment and will receive weekly payments like myself. But there are those of us that have run out and are still feeling the stress that we have all been going through in these past weeks that will continue to feel unless something is done. So for their sake, and potentially ours, let us still stand together and fight for those that are still fighting, the 99r’s. They still need our help and we may be one of them someday soon. And please, do not forget those Senators that voted no to helping us survive. Never forget them like they forgot us…United we stand, divided we fall!!

  • Comm_reply
    desperatentx 07/20/2010 11:23am

    Ktula…i completely agree!!! God forbid we fall right back into the situation. i will continue to pray for everyone. there is no way any of us can forget who stalled this and made the average person become someone theyve never been before!!

  • agapemu 07/20/2010 11:22am

    I am happy for all of you who are owed back checks. But before you know it you will join us 99ers who have been looking for jobs for a real long time. I’m sorry to say you will probably join us soon and then what will Congress do? I thought the President was going to include us, as one of the folks he met with at The White House was a man from NJ who is a 99er. Guess he’s out of luck also. I think every elected politician should take in a family from their home state and really see what is going on. There’s no suffering going on in their homes. Vacations, kids at camp, college this fall etc. They’ll have a lovely month off and they will sleep at night real well!!!!! Wall Street and GM they bail out, but not those of us who really worked our butts off all our lives. No company can be successfull without the people who work for them but the CEO’s get the big bucks!! God help us all. See you all in November.

  • Comm_reply
    Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:32am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I’ll certainly still be around come November. It’s time to make sure that they never forget the people they left behind! I don’t believe that any politician has good intentions for anything, but the Democrats are definitely the lesser or the two evils!

  • jenny2010 07/20/2010 11:23am

    Thank you. I am grateful for the extension and hope companies begin hiring more. My mortgage is two months past due and I have been having to borrow gas money to go to interviews, Now I can continue my job search and hopefully land a job ASAP.

  • taxthis 07/20/2010 11:25am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Anyone that is unemployed because of no fault of their should receive help from this united states government. My opinion is that they should receive benefits for as long as it takes them to find work. there is a system in place to help find work. Let the system work and stop punishing the poor people. I am mad as you know what and I will not stop speaking out anymore. This is the 3rd post of my life . Let us stick together and oust these fake people in government.

  • trynghard63 07/20/2010 11:26am

    Agreed we all need to keep coming back and band together. But again we somehow need to stress to them that we want our jobs back. If they hadnt sent our jobs away, guess what? We wouldnt be going through this. I want to find a way to make our voices heard. I will remember in November. I doubt I ever forget. The rich get richer by sending jobs over seas. The poor get poorer because of the greedy companys. Government can step in and tax or fine these companys. I just dont get it.

  • Comm_reply
    taxthis 07/20/2010 11:34am

    I am with you and all americans that are suffering. And all of the 99ers, don’t be dismayed, you will get extended. It would be an abomination if they do not help everyone. Start up the foundrys again that built the steel to build this nation. Bring back the t extile mills that made our clothes and fabrics. Why should any other country make our military uniforms. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    MATHSMOM 07/21/2010 5:55pm

    YES! WAKE UP AMERICA! MY Pastor has been having WAKE UP AMERICA Rallies for about a year now. Check it out and see why our country is in the shape it is in.

  • Ktula7 07/20/2010 11:28am

    And thank you to Donny Shaw for being so informative during such a difficult time for us all. Kudos to you sir for a job well done!!!

  • bwcox 07/20/2010 11:31am

    I will ditto that Ktula7…Mr. Shaw you have provided explanations and insight all the way through this episode…many thanks!

  • Comm_reply
    MATHSMOM 07/21/2010 5:55pm

    Yes! Thanks you! I would have no idea what was going on with out these reports!

  • sruthj217 07/20/2010 11:32am

    There has been so much traffic at this site this afternoon it has taken me over 15 minutes just to log in! :)
    My thanks go first to Donny Shaw for covering what has been such a hugely important issue to all of us. I was sweating bullets today and I’m sure many of you were too.

    I can’t underestimate some of the statements being made here today. Especially that this extension is likely to be the last given the November elections and that we all need not only to lay emergency plans now but to stay involved and hold Congress accountable to stop offshoring, rampant temping and bad business practices and help create more decent livable JOBS. The math is against us now (10 searchers for 1 job) and that needs to change.
    Regardless with the stimulus money going in the job climate is sure to improve at least temporarily.

  • sruthj217 07/20/2010 11:33am

    Please do not forget to send emails of thanks to the Democratic leadership and to the two Republicans who voted yes on this closure!

    I think that the Republican majority may be surprised this fall and not pick up the seats as they expect. They certainly haven’t earned them in my opinion. Many of their own people were out of work and went through this ordeal will remember what happened here this past month!

  • Comm_reply
    MATHSMOM 07/21/2010 6:04pm

    Yes I agree the Repubs and Dems should have worked better on this bill together. I think the Repubs should have come up with an idea if they didn’t want to put this country in more debt. I can see lots of ways they could have done that like cutting out silly things money goes for. However, I am not willing to vote for dems to ruin this country further. I am not willing to vote for ppl who do not respect the sanctity of marriage and pro-abortion believers and so on. I think we need to throw out ALL of the senators and the house (dems and repubs)and start over fresh! God help this country!

  • kapachupi1012 07/20/2010 11:38am

    Hebrews 13:5-6 “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things that you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you,’ so that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.’”

  • Comm_reply
    GodisGreat44 07/20/2010 11:48am

    praise the Lord for he will always love us. He will always be with us. Doesn’t matter if you believe in Him or love Him, as well. he loves everyone and will support the entire human race

  • HoustonTx25 07/20/2010 11:46am


  • mikes1lakerfan 07/20/2010 11:47am

    Any unemployed person who has been following & effected by this whole issue and post comments on this site, if you have stopped voting or have never voted before, do you now understand why it is so important to get out and vote!! REMEMBER come NOVEMBER!!!!!

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