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This afternoon Sen. Debbie Ann Stabenow [D, MI] called for the Senate to pass, under unanimous consent, the "Americans Want to Work Act." The bill would add a fifth tier of unemployment insurance benefits in states with unemployment rates above 7.5%. The fifth tier would give an additional 20 weeks of benefits to unemployed people who have exhausted all of their available unemployment insurance benefits and have not yet found a job.

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August 13, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Chuck Schumer [D, NY] took time out of his day back in D.C. yesterday to talk with reporters at The Hill about the Senate's legislative agenda for when they come back into session on September 13:

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Just a quick note here regarding the new, stand-alone unemployment insurance bill in the Senate and what its introduction last week means for the prospects of getting an extension passed. To be clear, the fact that it has been introduced does not in any way indicate that the congressional leadership intends to move on it. Any senator can introduce any bill on any issue they choose. They don't need consent from anyone else -- they simply draft it and drop it in a box. Senate workers then assign it a number and file it away with the tens of thousands of other bills that have been introduced this session. The vast majority of bills in Congress never go anywhere in the legislative process, and only about 4% of the bills that are introduced in a given session become law.

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The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (H.R.4213), which would have extended unemployment insurance benefits, closed some tax loopholes and more, was officially abandoned last week after the Democrats failed to overcome a Republican filibuster for the third time. As a result, over a million uninsured people have had their unemployment insurance benefits cut off since they expired on June 2. But while the Democrats may have lost hope of ever passing H.R. 4213, they have recently introduced a new bill for the sole purpose of extending unemployment benefits.

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