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GOP Filibuster on Unemployment Benefits Defeated on Fourth Attempt

5 years ago
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After three failed attempts, the Senate voted 60 to 40 to end a Republican filibuster Tuesday over a bill to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed through the end of November. Roughly 2.5 million Americans have been without benefits since the latest extension expired in June.

The Senate will take a final vote on the bill tomorrow. It will then go to the House for a a vote and on to president's desk for signature.

The months-long impasse was broken by newly minted Democratic Sen. Carte Goodwin (D-W.Va.), who was sworn in to succeed the late Sen. Robert Byrd minutes before the vote to end debate on the bill. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) was the only Democrat to oppose it, while Maine's Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, voted with the Democrats.

GOP leaders have succeeded three times in blocking the bill, arguing that it should not be paid for with $33 billion in additional deficit spending, as Democrats plan to do.

"I think you could get 100 votes in the Senate if you could find a way to pay for it," Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) said before the vote. The Republican leadership has called on Democrats to use unspent stimulus funds for any more unemployment extensions, an idea that Democrats have rejected.

With the unemployment rate at 9.5 percent, Democrats have argued for months that benefits should be paid for without going through the arduous task of finding cuts in the federal government to offset the new spending.

"Whether we can pay for the benefits or not is not something (the Senate) could come to an agreement on," Snowe said. "But I don't think we can put that burden on people who are are desperately looking for jobs and need benefits now."

On Monday, President Obama excoriated Republicans for their "misguided" opposition to the measure.

"After years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn't have any problems spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn't offer relief to middle-class Americans," the president said in the Rose Garden.

"These are honest, decent, hardworking folks who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own and who have nowhere else to turn except unemployment benefits and who need emergency relief to help them weather this economic storm."

Nelson, the only Democrat who has consistently bucked his party in opposing deficit spending, said Tuesday that unemployment benefits are crucial. "Not to say that this isn't important. Obviously it's very important," Nelson said. "But if it's that important, it's important enough to be paid for."

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How many unemployed miss the 4.2% unemployment , thriving economy, and record stock markets with small businesses booming from coast to coast that we had under Bush , up until the Democrats took over the houses in 2007? We also had a terrible economy under Clinton until the Republicans replaced the Democrats and ran both houses. Any of you unemployed see a pattern here?

July 20 2010 at 8:01 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

One of the huge oil rigs that just left the Gulf for Africa stated that Political unrest was there reason for leaving the U.S. The Democrats that did not want to use either stimulous funds or any of that huge amount of repaid TARP funds to pay for this extention , and there is far more wasteful pork in this bill ,than actual funds for unemployment. Wake up Americans... The Democrats just want to keep on using the Federal credit card like a bunch of undisiplined teenagers.

July 20 2010 at 7:54 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

bp darling....people took their money out of the market when they listened to Obama and saw that he was the lead in the horse race. They paid attention to Carter and knew what was coming,.

July 20 2010 at 7:19 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dc walker's comment

You guys should have paid attention when the Bush's were on the horizon. Look what the heck happened. Everybody wants to blame this President for our current situation and he wasn't in office when this mess took place. WHO got us in this big mess???

July 20 2010 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vinnie & Nancy

When the administration comes to reality about the deflated Dept of Labor unemployment rates maybe it would put an end to debates and take more time to find ways of creating jobs in OUR COUNTRY and keep them HERE.


July 20 2010 at 7:07 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

I am soooooo tired of people who are lucky enough to have jobs complaining about us who drew the short straw and got laid off from our jobs. I have worked all my life since I was 14 years old, I am now 57 and apparently unemployable. I've tried applying for full-time positions, part-time positions and so far no all of you out there thinking all we want to do is sit back and collect my lips...THIS IS NOT TRUE...unemployment just gets us by..does not afford me the little bit of the luxury I was once used too..such as a vacation once, maybe twice a year..dinner with friends once a's all gone now and this is what I have to look forward to until the day I die...trying to survive. I sit in my house while my friends can enjoy. It makes me soooo sick you can't even one can, especially our political reps, who always seem to be employed.

July 20 2010 at 7:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The job killers are gloating because they won an extension for the unemployment benefits that they made necessary. Now they want a pat on the back for giving the American taxpayer a kick in the rear.

July 20 2010 at 6:37 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

So both husband and wife were employed. Wife/husband gets laid off and collects unemployment. No need to pay for child care. Hmm. Just wondering if the incentive to find work is really there.

July 20 2010 at 6:19 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

The Republicans are right. LET THEM EAT CAKE! But the unemployed are to cowerdly to revolt!

July 20 2010 at 6:05 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

What happens after my 3rd extension runs out? I have a diffucult time trying to get information from Human Resource Department. HRD asked me to wait until I have a ZERO balance on my UC claim receipt - then they will talk to me. In the meantime, does anyone know if there is going to be a 4th extension? At 63 I haven't been getting any job offers at all - but I keep trying anyway.

July 20 2010 at 5:35 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Thank you Senator Goodwin. Now all we voters need vote OUT everyone who wanted this bill defeated! I recently drove through Detroit and what I say made me sick. The city is a Ghost town. I'm from Ohio and SE Ohio is just about as dismal. We used to have a thriving beautiful country, vibrant and alive. We as voters need to clean house in the Senate and the Congress. We need to spend more time "sweeping our own front steps", GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE, WE ONLY HAVE ONE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WE -THE -PEOPLE have got to get this done. As far as our President - remember the old saying about SOWS EARS AND SILK PURSES!! He stepped into a mine field to put it mildly and he can only do so much with what he has to work with. His heart is in the right place which is more than I see from some of his co-workers. GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

July 20 2010 at 5:15 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ptcruz50's comment

HURRAH FOR YOU----we will never forget what Bush did to our country and Obama is trying vry hard to fix the worst mess since the Great Depression, all the while being criticized by the do-nothing, know-nothing Republicans

July 20 2010 at 5:54 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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