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It's going to be a big day in both chambers of Congress on the issue we've been tracking steadily on this blog for weeks -- extending unemployment insurance benefits for the millions of unemployed individuals who have had their payments cut off since late May. Here's what you need to know to follow today's votes.

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After consulting with lobbyists yesterday to see what it would take to win a few Republican votes, Senate Dems are back with their latest revision of the H.R. 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act. Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has already filed cloture on the revised bill, and according to the congressional record, "a vote on cloture will occur on Friday, June 25, 2010."

Cloture is a procedural motion to overcome a filibuster that requires 60 votes to pass. According to reports, the Democrats have been within two votes of passing the cloture motion for several days now. This latest revision is designed to shore up support among Democratic and Republican moderates to win those crucial two votes. At this point, all indications are that it hasn't worked.

So what has changed in the latest revision?

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When the Senate whittled down a $174 billion jobs bill from the House to a mere $15 billion bill, one of the many ideas to hit the cutting room floor was a $23 billion fund to prevent layoffs in education. Last week, Sen. Tom Harkin [D, IA] revived the idea and introduced it as a standalone Senate bill.

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Senate Breaks Filibuster on HIRE Act

March 16, 2010 - by Eric Naing

For a second time, the Senate is expected to vote on an $18 billion jobs bill known as the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment, or HIRE, Act (H.R.2847).

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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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Bunning's Blockade Affects More People

March 2, 2010 - by Eric Naing

We've discussed how Sen. Jim Bunning's [R, KY] filibuster of unemployment benefits has affected millions of dollars in construction projects and thousands of workers, but there's another consequence of his obstruction: a 21 percent cut in Medicare dollars for doctors. I've discussed the “doc fix” before but to recap, a budget formula has repeatedly and automatically cut Medicaid payments to doctors since 2003. Congress routinely votes to delay those cuts, but by not paying to permanently fix t...

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Six Republican senators have flip-flopped on the jobs bill having initially voted against it on Monday and then voting for it today.

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After The Jobs Bill, Reid Moves To Tourism

February 24, 2010 - by Eric Naing

With today's passage of a $15 billion jobs bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] is now eyeing a bill designed to encourage foreign tourism to the United States.

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Has a new day dawned in the Senate? On Monday night, five Republicans helped to hand Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] a big and much-needed victory by joining with Democrats on defeating a Republican filibuster of his $15 billion jobs bill. The bipartisan 62-30 vote came even after Reid scaled the bill back last week by removing some unrelated tax cuts, which were popular with Republicans, and an unemployment insurance extension, which is popular with everyone in Congress.

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Whither the Unemployment Benefits Extension?

February 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), 1.2 million unemployed Americans will run out of unemployment insurance benefits in March if Congress fails to pass a new extension. Yet, as the Democrats pared down their jobs bill to get it the support it would need to pass through the Senate, an extension of unemployment benefits was one of the things that was thrown by the wayside.

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The Incredible Shrinking Jobs Bill

February 18, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] is scrambling to find the votes for a pared down jobs bill, which itself was a pared down version of a jobs bill passed last year by House Democrats. To make a long story short, the House last December passed a $154 billion jobs bill (H.R.2847) prompting the Senate to consider a smaller $80 billion jobs bill, which Sen. Reid further shrank to a $15 billion jobs bill after complaints that the previous bill contained too many concessions to Republicans. ...

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Just days after President Obama signed “pay-go” legislation into law, Democrats want to bypass it to extend unemployment and COBRA healthcare benefits.

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Fresh off a meeting with Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] is rewriting the Senate jobs bill, excising many of the tax cuts previously included to draw Republican support. In recent days, the shape of the bill has sparked an intra-party fight among Senate Democrats. Originally crafted by Sen. Dick Durbin [D, IL] and Sen. Byron Dorgan [D, ND], the process was hijacked by the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT] and Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA], two leadi...

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Dems See Stimulus Replay In Senate Jobs Bill

February 11, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] is meeting with fellow Democratic senators today to hammer out an agreement over an $85 billion jobs bill.

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