Reid strips bipartisan ‘jobs bill’, cuts Unemployment and COBRA extensions from bill…

Smooth move Harry. I am sure the unemployed people and folks who need the COBRA subsidy will appreciate your newfound ‘toughness’ on spending. Especially since you found your cojones against members of your own party on an actual bipartisan bill.

Whadda maroon.

FDL! while complimenting Harry, notes he tossed the UE and COBRA extension:

...Reid set aside the social safety net spending, extending unemployment benefits and the COBRA subsidy, into a separate bill. That would net another $25 billion. Reid has promised to take that up later in February, after the Senate recess….

Politico notes that Reid pulled the rug from under the WH’s big bipartisan jobs bill announcement (headline calls WH ‘stunned’) and pixxed off his caucus at the same time:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led colleagues and the White House to believe he supported a bipartisan jobs bill — only to scuttle the plan as soon as it was released Thursday over concerns it could be used to batter Democratic incumbents, according to Senate sources.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) worked for weeks with Reid’s blessing and frequent involvement to craft an $85 billion jobs bill, a measure that seemed destined to break the partisan logjam that has ground the Senate to a halt.

But as Baucus, Grassley and President Barack Obama were preparing to celebrate a rare moment of bipartisan Kumbaya on Thursday, Reid stunned a meeting of Senate Democrats by announcing he was scrapping Baucus-Grassley, replacing it with a much cheaper, more narrowly crafted, $15 billion version.

Sounds like members of the Dem caucus were pretty pixxed too:

…But people who were in the room painted a somewhat different picture, saying Reid’s proposal was met with a mixture of confusion and outrage from senators upset about having their pet projects redacted – even after Reid promised to include their proposals in subsequent jobs bills.

And Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin argued passionately that, if lawmakers plan to extend corporate tax breaks, they should also extend employment insurance.  “[Reid's] trying to keep it simple,” Harkin said emerging from the meeting, “but what I think ought to be in the package is unemployment insurance for one year.”..

February 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Healthcare, Obama Administration, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 3 comments.

Unemployment Update: Senate passes Defense Bill – includes extension of eligibility for UE emergency bens and extends eligibility and duration of COBRA subsidy

I am strenuously ignoring what is happening on the Hill today with HCR.  Politico has the Dem ‘Highlight’ document up and it proudly announces CHILDREN will be exempt from pre existing condition limits in the bill, which of course means ADULTS are not. What a POS this thing is. Anyway. Happy talk dammit! The Senate managed to do something good on health care, and it is NOT in this POS bill. It was attached to the Defense Bill, a COBRA extension.

The bill contained the Patriot Act renewal so the lamestream media, in their constant attempts to ‘protect’ O from anything they view as negative, is not reporting all the details of what was in the bill.

They actually extended the COBRA subsidy, as the House did earlier in the week.

DetroitFreePress:

…The legislation makes some key changes to programs which were set to expire. For instance:

•The congressional stimulus bill passed in February created a program that paid 65% of monthly insurance premiums for people who lost their employer-based health care coverage because they were laid off. But that program was only open to people who lost their jobs – and their coverage – by the end of 2009. The new bill extends that eligibility deadline by two months, until the end of February 2010.

•It also adds six months to what was a 9-month period that the federal government would make the 65% of payments through the COBRA health plan, extending the period of payments to 15 months.

•The legislation also extends the deadline to qualify for additional unemployment benefits. Last month, Congress passed legislation adding 14 more weeks of emergency benefits – and six more on top of that for people in hard-hit states like Michigan. But they were only available to people exhausting all their other unemployment benefits by the end of December. The new bill extends that deadline to the end of February.

•It also maintains 2009 federal poverty guidelines – which if reset could have moved some people off food stamps and Medicaid – and adds additional funding to the food stamp program.

•Finally, the legislation authorizes the Small Business Association to continue programs to make loans more attractive to borrowers and lenders, in order to free up credit for businesses…

December 19, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Labor Department, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 1 comment.

Unemployment Update: House passes COBRA Subsidy Extension…

Finally!!!!  Now we need action in the Senate. It feels like the first time the House has done something for the real people doesn’t it?? How about some Lou Gramm Foreigner-Unplugged

WorkforceManagement:

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday, December 16, that would extend the federal subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums for employees who are involuntarily terminated.Embedded in H.R. 3326, a measure appropriating funds for the Department of Defense, the nine-month, 65 percent premium subsidy would be extended by six months to a total of 15 months. It would apply to those who lose their jobs through February 28, 2010. Under current law, employees who lose their jobs after December 31 are ineligible for the subsidy.

The measure, approved on 395-34 vote, also would provide an additional six months of subsidized coverage for beneficiaries whose nine-month COBRA premium subsidy has run out.

In addition, the legislation would give beneficiaries whose subsidy ran out and who didn’t pay the full premium a second chance to opt for coverage. For example, a beneficiary whose nine months of subsidized coverage ran out November 30 and who didn’t pay the regular unsubsidized December premium could pay the 35 percent premium share in January and receive coverage for December.

The legislation would require employers to notify current COBRA beneficiaries and future beneficiaries of the new 15-month premium subsidy.

The House is also expected to take up another appropriations bill, H.R. 2847, with a provision that would extend the premium subsidy to those who lose their jobs through June 30, 2010.

More on COBRA and other available resources for those who may have lost it, are losing it awaiting the Senate to take action, or cannot afford it courtesy of the WSJ:

…a companion bill has been introduced in the Senate that also would extend the Cobra subsidy for six months, up to a total of 15 months, and increase the subsidy to 75%. But it’s not known if the legislation will pass or even come to a vote….

…Many unemployed workers who first started receiving the Cobra subsidy in March lost it as of Nov. 30, and many more will start losing the subsidy this month. Workers whose Cobra eligibility begins on or after Jan. 1, 2010 won’t get the subsidy even if they’re terminated by Dec. 31, unless Congress extends the law (UPDATE from MiM: HOUSE has extended, waiting on Senate)

CONTINUES AFTER THE BREAK:

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December 17, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 3 comments.

Update: Another Senate cloture vote required?!?! House to delay UE vote until AFTER Healthcare?!?! Cloture passes Senate 85-2:next the ‘final’ Senate vote in 30 hours

Update 11/3: New UE thread here
fiddling-while-rome-burns

Update: 11/3: OMG, ANOTHER cloture vote required BEFORE the final Senate vote?? WTH? THEN to the House? Could HARRY REID BE ANY MORE INCOMPETENT IF HE TRIED??? And now it will have to compete in the House against their dopey Healthcare bill!??! Oh Gawd help us.

They AMENDED the bill which means there must be a THIRD Cloture vote..

ProgressIllinois:

Last night, the Senate voted by an 85-2 margin for cloture on H.R. 3548. Most reporters (myself included) thought that motion limited debate for good, ensuring that a final vote on the bill could be held as early as tomorrow morning. But Republicans, who are bent on thwarting the measure, still have more one arrow in their quiver, according to Congress Daily’s Peter Cohn (subscription required):

Monday’s vote cut off debate on the substitute amendment from Majority Leader Reid and Finance Chairman Max Baucus adding the tax breaks to the underlying unemployment insurance bill. Another cloture vote, this time on the amended bill, could occur as late as 11:40 tonight unless Republicans yield back time or agree to vitiate cloture. Even if cloture is invoked, Republicans would have up to another 30 hours to debate, pushing final passage off until Thursday.

What’s worse, the House was ready to vote on the more generous Senate version as soon passed. But the delay means that the unemployment bill must now compete for floor space with health care legislation. It’s not yet clear when they will squeeze it in.

Update: It passes the second cloture vote in the Senate. Yay! Now after 30 hours they can hold the ‘final’ Senate vote, THEN it will go to House, who only has 1 vote, then it goes for Obama to sign.

ProgressIllinois update: Adam Doster on November 02, 2009 – 4:41pm

Moments ago, the Senate voted by an overwhelming majority for cloture on H.R. 3548, a federal unemployment benefit extension. While 85 lawmakers supported the procedural motion, only two Republicans — Missouri Sen. Kit Bond and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint — voted against it. (The latter, who Rep. Peter Roskam has called “grounded” and “wise,” represents a state with an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent)….

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November 2, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Economy, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 4 comments.

Update: Reid:deal reached on expanding homebuyer tax credit–UE vote within 24 hours; Unemployment Extension Update: Reid now trying to put homebuyer tax credit back in UE bill?? Senate to proceed to UE bill @930am EST; Bill passes cloture 87-13

Update 5: 11/2 newer new thread following UE vote here

Update 4: New thread following UE vote here

Update 3: 430pm EST: Breaking on CNBC- Diana Olick says Harry Reid’s office confirms a deal has been reached on the homebuyers tax credit, It WILL BE EXPANDED AND EXTENDED to include more than 1st time buyers, and IT WILL BE ATTACHED TO THE UE EXTENSION BILL

Reid says he expects a vote on said UE bill WITHIN 24 HOURS.

More as it becomes available…

(Diana Olick’s RealtyCheckBlog, earlier compromise report with details, details moved to Housing Update post.)

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October 23, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 11 comments.

Update: GOP proposes amendments for housing tax credit and Dems Johanns and Nelson propose amendment banning ACORN from any federal funding; Unemployment Update: Extension still stalled in the Senate…

10/23 See Update http://moderateinthemiddle.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/unemployment-update-senate-cloture-vote-on-unemployment-extension-next-tuesday/

Update: The Hill:

(…)Since early October, Senate Democrats have been looking to quickly push through a bill that would extend jobless benefits by at least 14 weeks. But Republicans have blocked the immediate consideration of the bill on the Senate floor, objecting because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has yet to score it and because a voice vote would preclude GOP amendments….

…Republicans said that a quick vote on the bill would have precluded Isakson’s amendment and others that have bipartisan support. Nebraska Sens. Mike Johanns (R) and Ben Nelson (D) are pushing for an amendment banning all federal funding for ACORN.

Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) dismissed Democratic suggestions that Republicans are the “party of no” for holding back support on the bill.

“I think when all is said and done, you’ll see a lot of support for unemployment extension. That’s not the issue,” Kyl told reporters. “The question is how you pay for it. The question is what is the score for it, and whether some other amendments will be allowed.”

Democrats plan to find the extra revenue by extending by 18 months the federal employment surtax, paid by employers and set to expire at the end of the year. The CBO expects the extension of jobless benefits to cost approximately $2.4 billion, according to a Democratic aide.

GOP senators, hoping to avoid a tax extension, are planning amendments that would pay for the prolonged jobless benefits by using bailout or stimulus money, according to a Senate Republican aide.

The Indpendent reports an E Verify amendment is also coming to the floor:

(…)The stalling of legislation to expand unemployment insurance (UI) has little to do with the benefit itself. First, there’s a push to attach an extended homebuyer tax credit to the bill — something the Obama administration is wary of.

But also there’s this: Republicans are hoping to attach a number of amendments related to ACORN and immigration — provisions that have delayed floor action on the UI bill indefinitely, according to the offices of both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The agreement ends after that.

The Republican amendments include at least two provisions related to ACORN; one related to the E-Verify program; one to pay for the UI benefits with unspent stimulus money; and one providing tax relief….

fiddling-while-rome-burns

Update: Courtesy of James McConnell at the Chicago Economic Policy Examiner:

Democratic politicians will hold a press conference Tuesday to blast Republican politicians for holding up legislation to extend unemployment benefits another 14 weeks for the nation’s out of work citizens. Elected representatives in both houses of Congress have agreed on the details of a bill and apparently have the votes to pass it, but Republicans blocked passage by unanimous consent, and continue to offer what Democrats characterize as unrelated amendments…

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October 20, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Foreclosures, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 4 comments.

Unemployment Update: Action stalled in Senate where parties bicker over funding mechanism…

10/23 See Update http://moderateinthemiddle.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/unemployment-update-senate-cloture-vote-on-unemployment-extension-next-tuesday/
harry-reid-incompetence

Update 10/16 : Where is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid while Americans are waiting for a vote on the UE Extension??! Is he working hard behind the scenes to force a vote? Nah.

He is FUNDRAISING AND CAMPAIGNING IN NV WITH JOE BIDEN! unreal. The state of NV is among the highest in UE and foreclosures and this yahoo is doing PRIVATE HIGH DOLLAR FUNDRAISING appearances with Biden while we twist? NV please vote this guy out in 2010, pretty please? If you are waiting on this vote, please call your Senators.

MercuryNews:

Vice President Joe Biden is back in Reno for the first time since last year’s presidential election. The former U.S. senator from Delaware is in town to tout the progress of the federal stimulus package as well as help raise money for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s re-election campaign.

After a private fundraising breakfast, the two are scheduled to speak at an invitation-only event at 11 a.m. Friday at the Lawlor Events Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.

The visit comes at a time Nevada continues to suffer more than other states from the recession. The unemployment rate continues to increase. Taxable sales are down, and gaming revenue continues to drop.

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October 14, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 13 comments.

Update 5: Senate makes a deal, UE extension for all for 14 weeks; UE extension held up: Senate debates how many workers should be eligible; Schumer says UE extension vote to come this week; WSJ: WH & Congress negotiating to extend portions of stimulus, including unemployment extension and Employer subsidies of COBRA coverage…

10/23 See Update http://moderateinthemiddle.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/unemployment-update-senate-cloture-vote-on-unemployment-extension-next-tuesday/

Update 6: WSJ covers the Senate proposal:

Senate Democrats on Thursday introduced legislation that would extend by 14 weeks unemployment insurance benefits for jobless Americans in all 50 states.

It would offer an additional six weeks of federal assistance for unemployed people in the hardest-hit states with unemployment rates above 8.5% over a three month period….

Update 5: Okay the Senate has cut a deal to extend UE for everyone not just states over 8.5% UE rate, for 14 weeks, but when will they pass the bill and git r done?. Also, still on the table:

Senate Democrats reached a deal Thursday to extend the benefits an additional 14 weeks in every state. Both proposals are paid for by extending a federal unemployment tax.

Also on the table: extending subsidies for laid-off workers to help them keep the health insurance their former employers provided, known as COBRA. The current program, which covers workers laid off through the end of the year, costs nearly $25 billion.

Congressional leaders haven’t settled on the length of an extension, or how to pay for it.

They are trying to buy off Seniors with a check by increasing..SS PAYROLL TAXES!!!!!

Several bills would issue extra payments to the more than 50 million Social Security recipients, to make up for the lack of a cost-of-living increase next year. One bill would set the one-time payments at $250, matching the amount paid to Social Security recipients and railroad retirees as part of the stimulus package enacted in February.

The payments would cost about $14 billion and would be paid for by applying the Social Security payroll tax to incomes between $250,000 and $359,000 in 2010. Currently, payroll taxes apply only to the first $106,800 of a worker’s income.

Now the Senate is holding up the UE extension arguing over how many people to cover. What new madness is this! But they are fine pushing through a bazillion dollar health care bill? And now they worry about cost on UE extensions??

Man let’s just bark at the moon, it’s probably as effective as calling these whackadoodles on the Hill but here is the linky to look up your Senator if you need a UE extension, call them..

*Ozzy courtesy of jman19428

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October 2, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Taxes, Unemployment Statistics. 11 comments.

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