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Senate Democrats are honing in on a compromise for moving forward with the jobs/tax extenders bill. According to Congress Daily, the plan is to soften a provision raising taxes on hedge fund managers who have been paying discount rates due to a loophole in the tax code. Unemployed workers whose health care subsidies were cut during the House's work on the bill would not see any gains under the new compromise.

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On May 28, before leaving for recess, the House split the extender bill, known as the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010, into two pieces and passed them both. But by the time the House finished their work on the bill, the Senate had already left town, causing the bill to linger as unfinished business over the week-long recess. As a result, on June 2, unemployment insurance benefits began expiring for hundreds of thousands of people, and the pay cut for doctors is set to take effect imminently (the only reason it hasn't happened yet is that Medicare has temporarily postponed its claims processing).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] initially said that passing the bill would be the first thing the Senate does on Monday morning. But, as The Hill is reporting, it now looks like that isn't going to happen. Senate Democrats have yet to schedule a debate on the bill, and they likely do not have the votes to pass it in its current form.

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House Passes Scaled-Back Jobs Bill

May 28, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

After cutting COBRA health care benefits for the unemployed and Medicaid funds for states with budget problems, the House has finally passed their economic recovery bill, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.

But they are a day late. The Senate adjourned this afternoon and won't be back to vote on the bill until Monday, June 7. The current unemployment benefits extension that was approved by Congress in April is set to expire on June 2. According to the Department of Labor, more than 300,000 unemployed people will exhaust their current tier of benefits and be left without a lifeline by the time the Senate gets back to take up the bill.

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As unemployed Americans drown in bills, Senate Democrats are trying to pass yet another temporary extension for unemployment insurance benefits. But millions of Americans who can't get flood insurance, even if their homes could quite literally be underwater, are also tuning in to this seemingly perpetual battle.

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Included in the various unemployment benefits that expired this week thanks to Congressional inaction is a 65 percent subsidy for COBRA health insurance. But even with this subsidy in place, there are still millions of Americans, both unmarried opposite-sex couples and unable-to-be-married same sex couples, that can't purchase COBRA insurance in the first place. A bill introduced last month by Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] aims to change this.

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The Senate has just passed a $140 billion bill includes an extension for unemployment benefits through the end of the year, tax credits and billions in emergency aid to states.

One week after approving a 30-day extension of unemployment benefits (H.R.4691), the Senate today passed the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act (H.R.4321), which provides a longer-term extension of those benefits. Specifically, the bill extends federal unemployment assistance through Dec. 31 and provides a 65 percent subsidy for COBRA health insurance premiums. The coverage is retroactive to Feb. 28.

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Dems Push Longer-Term Unemployment Benefits

March 3, 2010 - by Eric Naing

A bill extending unemployment insurance and COBRA health insurance benefits for 30 days was signed into law last night and congressional Democrats are now hoping to extend those benefits through the end of this year. Amidst the chaos surrounding Sen. Jim Bunning's [R, KY] filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] and Sen. Max Baucus [D. MT] on Monday unveiled their bill to provide longer-term relief to the unemployed. Included as an amendment to an existing House bill (H.R.4213)...

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Sen. Jim Bunning's [R, KY] one-man filibuster came to an end last night allowing the Senate to pass an emergency extension for unemployment benefits (H.R.4691).

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Bunning's Blockade Affects People

March 2, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

McClaychy outlines some of the real-world impact of Sen. Jim Bunning [R, KY] continuing objections to a temporary extension of unemployment benefits and other expiring programs (H.R. 4691): Federal projects shut down include more than $38 million in project funding for Idaho's Nez Perce National Forest and Fernan Lakes Idaho Panhandle National Forest and $86 million for bridge replacements in the Washington, D.C., area. Bunning's home state of Kentucky has no projects affected by his action. ...

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