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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 211-240 of 395 total comments.

seanurse 07/20/2010 8:25pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm


proudtobehiswife 07/20/2010 8:22pm
in reply to Sniperous Jul 20, 2010 3:35pm

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.

Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 8:12pm

I forgot to remember that two Republicans do have common sense and decency. Susan Collin and Olympia Snow of Maine. Thank you ladies for your reasoning in this matter. I do believe that the guy Brown (who replaced our beloved Ted Kennedy) has a heart. He just had to listen to it.

jgpt777 07/20/2010 8:09pm

Is Obama holding Stimulis Money? that should have paid for the new unemployment extension?

I don’t know….my friend told me it is true,,,thats why republicans voted no……

Please advise me…

peytonsplace007 07/20/2010 7:56pm

This is good news! BUT…are they really going to go the whole 30 hours and not give the final vote until around 9pm Wednesday? Reid seemed pretty certain in his closing before adjournment that the Republicans were going to drag this out the entire cloture period.

cplstopstick 07/20/2010 7:51pm

Well the only one I can vote out on that list is Lugar and hes not up until 2012. I hope people in Indiana don’t forget his part in screwing millions of us over come his election cycle! I certainly wont

Iamamerican33 07/20/2010 7:47pm

Today, before the vote, I overheard an interview. Wasn’t paying alot of attention for they were talking about the President coming out to push on this passing. I remember thinking “I have heard all this” so did not pay close attention. Then as the conversation went on I distinctly heard the guy being interviewed say that there was talk of working on another 99 week run since the economy was so bad and is expected to recovery so slowly. Our money is not alot but it helps so much. I drew $226 a week. Also, ever dollar spent by us through this money creates an economic effect of $1.61. That is better than a lot of stimulus things they try. Not the best but there is a return and we we KNOW it WILL be spent. It is our food, our gas, our medicine, our bills, our lifeline! The person being interviewed was male and in front of one of our political bldgs. It made me believe there will be help for the 99ers. My heart is with you. I am unemployed too. In school but will be a 99er too, very soon.

cplstopstick 07/20/2010 7:44pm
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 20, 2010 6:33pm

consider yourself lucky my friend I was cut off after Memorial Day and I haven’t been able to fill out vouchers along with several people I know. I can only hope Indiana can be quick on the reprogramming

proudtobehiswife 07/20/2010 7:28pm
in reply to Sniperous Jul 20, 2010 3:34pm

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

jgpt777 07/20/2010 6:52pm
in reply to bigbufordsdad Jul 20, 2010 6:32pm

big: God Bless I hope all get better for you, just keep on pushing on…

taxthis 07/20/2010 6:42pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm

Done, thank you,exgop

firestorm145 07/20/2010 6:33pm
in reply to cplstopstick Jul 20, 2010 6:16pm

I agree. I have been filing on line in my state for 5 weeks now. I will be getting the back payas soon as it goes trough. Good luck with you!!!

bigbufordsdad 07/20/2010 6:32pm
in reply to jgpt777 Jul 20, 2010 6:20pm

i made my claim the following business day. i received a letter within a week that said i was denied due to being terminated, not laid off. i worked for 8 years in an architecture firm. after receiving this letter, i spent a year bouncing around from friends and family, voluntarily went to jail to pay off existing fines, and even stayed in a homeless shelter. after my friend said he went through the same thing and eventually was approved, i went back to the unemployment office and they said the period to make my claim had expired, so they put me on EUC.

jgpt777 07/20/2010 6:29pm


Here’s the list from the party of NO
Those who voted NAY
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brown (R-MA)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
LeMieux (R-FL)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Nelson (D-NE)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Wicker (R-MS)

dlharris1189 07/20/2010 6:23pm
in reply to txgal68 Jul 20, 2010 4:11pm

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

jgpt777 07/20/2010 6:20pm
in reply to bigbufordsdad Jul 20, 2010 5:46pm

big: it does not make sense, if you were on tier 2 and it ran out, you should call the Unemployment after the extension bill is passed, and tell them you need to start tier 3.

But what does not make sense is you said you ran out of your tier 2, but in order to receive tier 1 or 2 or 3 ect. you have to finish your regular 26wk claim?

taxthis 07/20/2010 6:19pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm
I will sign this. We as Americans need to stay vigilant, even if we become employed. It’s the right thing to do. Thank you exgop
cplstopstick 07/20/2010 6:16pm
in reply to firestorm145 Jul 20, 2010 3:09pm

I know in Indiana when I had to go back on unemployment in November after I was released from workmans comp and lost my job for an on the job injury, normally I could fill out a computerized voucher but I had to fill out a paper one where they told me that it could take up to 3 weeks to get a check but I think it was about within a week I had the pay so I guess it caries from state to state. They have posted on Indiana’s website that it would take 2 weeks to reprogram their computers but I think they say that just to have a cushion. If they were smart they would start the reprogramming since it looks clear so far that the bill will become law. But then again we are talking about government and look how long this fiasco has been drawn out

indimom2010 07/20/2010 6:12pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 5:41pm

Done… I signed it…we all need to do this.

ExGOP 07/20/2010 6:03pm
in reply to bigbufordsdad Jul 20, 2010 5:46pm

You were denied your regular UI? I never heard that before. How long did you wait after you were laid off to sign up for UI? Did you work at least 6 months prior to applying for UI?

I live in CA. Here we have to exhaust our regular 26 weeks before advancing to EUC.

bigbufordsdad 07/20/2010 5:46pm

does anyone have any idea about arkansas? the wiki link in the article has no information and neither does my states department of workforce services website. i was on tier 2 when my EUC ran out. this state is so uninformed, its no wonder that the rest of the country thinks we are all toothless backwoods rednecks.

and get this, i didnt even receive my normal unemployment benefits. they denied me initially, and when i went back after a friend said they told him the same, they said i missed the deadline for my initial claim and sent me straight to EUC. so there is almost $9,000 with my name on it that i cant access.

gretr33 07/20/2010 5:42pm
in reply to gretr33 Jul 20, 2010 5:40pm

I mean 10

ExGOP 07/20/2010 5:41pm

To my fellow unemployed Americans …

Please sign the petition at the following site:

This could be you! Economists predicting the jobs will NOT be back by Nov. 30th! Let’s start now to help avoid the crap we just went through.

gretr33 07/20/2010 5:40pm
in reply to Kerlynne Jul 20, 2010 2:31pm

thier not gonna get 9 people to vote against it

firestorm145 07/20/2010 5:38pm
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 20, 2010 3:34pm

By the way, I know which bill they voted on today. I never said any bill was my position. I didn’t care what bill they voted on as long as they helped the unemployed. You are a very angry person. Chill out!!!!!! You life will be easier if you do.

firestorm145 07/20/2010 5:32pm
Link Reply
+ -1
in reply to Abaratarrr Jul 20, 2010 3:34pm

I read everything. Maybe you should get things straight. I noticed that you have been wrong as well.I stated “in my state”, so read before you have a fit!!!!! about things. You are too temperamental. Get it straight. Again, I said my state and each state varies.

firestorm145 07/20/2010 5:29pm
Link Reply
+ -1
in reply to Sniperous Jul 20, 2010 3:26pm

I stated that I moved to a tier in my state. It only took 3 days to move for me. Here a claim thats started takes 7 to 10 business days not the 2-3 weeks that you state. Every state varies. So don’t come back at me . I am saying what my state does. I filed an initial claim and it took me a week here and so did several other people I know and it took 7-10 days and thats what I stated.

indimom2010 07/20/2010 5:21pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 20, 2010 4:37pm

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

Cindy7 07/20/2010 5:14pm
in reply to gerryd Jul 20, 2010 12:38pm

Gerryd, I live in the state of Pennsylvania. I’m going to Tier 4 and this will be my last tier of the EUI. I’ve been calling in to file every 2 weeks and the Reps been just taking my information and place it on hold. So, right now I’ve have 6 weeks of benefits on hold, which will be my last. Here is a number for you to call, 1(888)313-7284. I’ve never did the mail in claims. Hope this helps. Let me know how it works out for you, and if there is any of information you may need. Will be keeping you and everyone on this site in prayer. Prayer works!!

downandout 07/20/2010 4:53pm
in reply to txgal68 Jul 20, 2010 4:11pm

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

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