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Sen. Chuck Schumer [D, NY] told a local NY news station last week that he is working on a bill to extended unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who have exhausted all 99 weeks of the federal benefits that are currently available to them. But he didn't say anything about when it would be introduced or what it would look like. Any senator can introduce any bill he or she likes. Here are a few things to look for when Schumer introduced his bill to tell whether it is a viable proposal that may become law, or jut another bill dropped in the hopper and destined to die in committee.

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Congress and the 99ers

July 13, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The 99ers are the true victims of the jobless recovery. Yes, millions of people who have been out of work for months are struggling right now because Congress has let the extended benefits period expire, but a couple weeks from now that will be extended and those people will see their benefit payments return, including retroactive reimbursements for any payments that were put on hold. If they can find a job before the 99-weeks-max benefit period expires under the currently-pending extension (H.R. 5618) on November 30, 2010, in a sense, the system will have worked at helping them weather this crisis. But for those who are not able to find a job by then, they will join the ranks of the 99ers who, so far, have seen nothing but neglect from the people in charge of U.S. economic policy.

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After initially faltering, the Senate last night approved a substitute amendment to the unemployment filing extension bill (H.R. 4851), which indicates that the votes are place and the bill should pass today (if Republicans agree to allow a vote) or early next week (if the Republicans demand more procedural votes).

Sen. George Voinovich [R, OH] provided the Democrats with the crucial GOP cross-over vote they needed to break a Republican filibuster of the amendment. He's expected to vote with the Democrats on the bill form here on out.

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