The 2010 unemployment extension bill is still mulling through Congress, and it’s expected that it will be brought back to vote this week. This time, there will be a new face in the crowd, as the West Virginia Governor has chosen a replacement for the late Senator Robert Byrd. Carte Goodwin is the chief counsel for the governor and he will take Byrd’s place and is expected to vote FOR the benefits extension bill.
There is still a lot of confusion over what is and isn’t included with the measure. There are many following the “Tier 5 to Survive” movement who are very disheartened that Congress hasn’t even brought a measure up to vote on a further extension of benefits beyond the former 99 weeks available.
The so-called 99ers are a group of people who have exhausted all the tiers 1-4 of emergency federal benefits available to them. The tiers add up to 73 more weeks to the unemployment. The 99ers claim that they need more time than this of benefits considering the meager job market and lacking job market.
The current bill only extends the time to file for the 1-4 tier of emergency federal benefits. The measure doesn’t do anything to add tiers (a Tier 5, so to speak) to the availability of funds.
The Huffington Post reports that the legislation comes with a $33 billion price tag. Congress was in deadlock over how to fund the measure, with Republicans refusing to budge and desiring that the bill be paid with unused stimulus plan funds.
Democrats want to fund the bill using deficit spending and tax hikes, and it appears as if this is how the bill will be funded once it is passed.
The earliest that a measure will come up for a Senate vote will be on July 20, which is the same day that Carte Goodwin will be sworn in to his new post as West Virginia Senator.
With the exception of Ben Nelson from Nebraska, the measure is supported by all Democrats. All but two Republicans oppose it.
Although the unemployment benefits extension doesn’t include a Tier 5, it’s still a start. Something is better than nothing and perhaps passing this bill will pave the way for extra benefits down the road. It will be a hard sell to the Republican Senators who want to start controlling government spending. However, as unemployment grows more tiers of availability of funds may be the only way to keep people off the streets and in their homes.
99ers shouldn’t lose hope. Hopefully, the measure will pass this week and the quest for additional benefits will become more feasible.