The House passed 2010 Unemployment Extension legislation( H.R. 5618) by a vote of 269-153 Thursday, July 1, 2010. H.R. 5618 is a bill that would restore Unemployment Benefits Extensions in 2010 until November. The next hurdle is to get that bill into the hands of the United States Senate. Unfortunately, a July 4th Senate recess will most likely cost unemployed workers those benefits in the short term.
What will this Senate recess cost the unemployed? It appears it will cost them at least 11 more days of waiting and worrying if benefits are restored. The House easily passed H.R. 5618 on Thursday afternoon when they needed just a simple majority. H.R. 5618 is a bill that would give 2010 Unemployment Benefits Extensions back to the jobless who had exhausted benefits after reaching Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 or Tier 4. As of the July 4th Holiday, a reported 1.7 million jobless Americans fall under that umbrella.
The bad news for unemployed workers hoping for a political miracle is that the Senate is on recess for the July 4, 2010 Holiday. They will not reconvene until July 12, 2010. That means 11 days of frustration for unemployed workers who lost jobs through no fault of their own. 11 more days at least without even having an answer of yes or no.
The timing is awful for jobless Americans who are already struggling. Some jobless Americans will have been without income for a month and a half by the time the Senate reconvenes on July 12, 2010. This simply means more waiting for those expecting good news over the July 4, 2010 Holiday. It also means that the Senate will have the H.R. 5618 bill in their hands on July 12, 2010. The question is will the Senate finally pass it after rejecting other such legislation four times? Will the Senate even address it on day one when they reconvene?
There have been multiple questions concerning if the bill would pass in the Senate even on July 12, 2010. Would it even be the first thing on the agenda? It would seem that the Senate would take up the action quickly considering the then 2 million people who fall into this category of expiring benefits. But Republicans are battling to keep this current legislation off the floor. Filibusters by the GOP in the Senate have not allowed the subject to come to a vote. Republicans want the bill paid for. It seems like most Republicans now are in agreement that the Unemployment Benefits should be extended. The GOP just wants it funded through excess from the stimulus package.
The House battle today on July 1, 2010 was epic. Democrats raised voices on their concern for their fellow Americans living without income. Republicans continued to urge the need for a way to fund this bill so it does not add to the deficit. There were some near shouting matches on the House floor for those who tuned in to CSPAN hoping for good news.
The final count was somewhat of a victory for the jobless-with the bill passing 269-153. 11 Democrats voted against the bill while 29 Republicans voted in favor of H.R. 5618. 11 members of the House did not vote.
What will become of the 2010 Unemployment Benefits Extension now that it is aimed once again for the Senate.
Democrats are hopeful they can achieve the 60 vote count needed in the Senate. Unfortunately, with the death of Robert Byrd, the Democrats could be one vote short. Two Republicans sided with the Democrats on the stand alone bill proposed last night in the Senate. The GOP filibuster blocked the bill. One reporter has mentioned that if a replacement is named for Robert Byrd the bill would inevitably pass-but only if those two Republicans remain in favor of the 2010 Unemployment Benefits Extension. That would give the Democrats the needed 60 votes to pass such legislation. That last vote needs to come from somewhere if the unemployment are going to get aid in the near future. The near future could unfortunately be nearly a week and a half.
So what happens next? Jobless Americans just have to wait until the Senate enjoys a lengthy vacation to find out if they will receive benefits retroactively or for the weeks of July. It will be a long 11 days for jobless Americans who are living without benefits.