Unemployment Extension July 21 2010 Update: Senate Passed HR 4213 Unemployment Extension Bill – Millions of unemployed Americans cheered as the Senate voted “yes” to pass the much awaited Unemployment Extension Bill. As previously mentioned, Carte Goodwin, the Senator who replaced the late Robert Byrd of West Virginia sworn in at 2:15 and voted “yes” at 2:30 adding to the total of 60-40 votes to counter the previous Republican filibuster.
Of all the Republicans who voted “no” and Democrats who voted “yes” for the Unemployment Extension Bill, one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson from Nebraska voted with Republicans against the motion, and two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe, both from Maine crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats. Meanwhile, two Independents, Senators Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut and Bernie Sander from Vermont voted in favor of the Democrats to pass the bill. I guess these names would be remembered come elections this coming November.
Under Senate rules, a vote on passage of the unemployment bill itself must now occur within 30 hours. This is the “motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to the bill with Reid Amendment No. 4425” of which unlike the original 60 votes needed, a simple majority of 51 “yes” votes is needed to pass. Since the Democrats have just shown that they have more than 51 votes for the bill in the first Senate vote, the Republicans probably may just agree to letting the final vote happen before the 30-hour clock has completely run out.
After this final Senate vote, this unemployment bill can now be send over to the House of Representatives for the final vote and finally lined up for Obama’s signature to become an official law. Once the bill becomes a law, it is expected that state labor departments will immediately begin implementing it and sending out unemployment benefits to help the millions of unemployed Americans. If our politicians would move as quickly as they can, this much awaited unemployment extension bill could become a law as early as Wednesday afternoon or the latest at the end of this week.
For the record, the unemployment extension bill passed by the Senate which is soon expected to become a law is called H.R. 4213. This is not the Tier 5 that most unemployed is clamoring as it would not create additional weeks of unemployment benefits. As in Tier 4, 99 weeks would still be the maximum amount of time an unemployed American could receive unemployment benefits for states with high unemployment rates (above 8.5%). However, as in Tier 3, 86 weeks would still be the maximum time for those who are located in states with low unemployment rates.
In addition, H.R. 4213, originally named as the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act” has now been renamed to as the “Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.” This bill would also extend the filing deadline for unemployment insurance benefits which expired last June 2 to until November 30, 2010. The bill also provides for unemployment benefits to be paid back retroactively for people who have seen their payments cut off since the filing deadline expired on June 2.
UPDATE: Courtesy of CSPAN and offered as a public service to all Americans, you can watch the US Congress live HERE