(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette
The Democratic held Senate tried to pass a three month extension of unemployment benefits for 1.7 million people whose benefits had run out since December. It failed by 2 votes, 58-to-40, the second vote was by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), a formality so he could reintroduce the bill at a later date. So, it actually failed by one vote. Since 2008, the federal government has provided extended benefits to the unemployed who used up the standard 26 weeks provided by the states. The average time it takes to find another job is at least 37 weeks. Republican Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) voted with Democrats to end debate.
In other words, the Republicans filibustered, again. Yes, I know it is a cloture vote to end debate. No matter what you call the need for 60 votes, a super majority, for whatever reason, that is a filibuster. They refused to end debate to bring the bill to the floor for a majority vote.
Democrats tried to sweeten the deal by banning millionaires from receiving benefits. Thursday’s measure would have required unemployment claimants to certify they’d earned less than $1 million in the previous year; currently, there is no income restriction.
The bill’s cost would have been offset through “pension smoothing,” or allowing companies to make smaller contributions to employee pensions, thus earning higher profits and giving the government more tax revenue.
But that’s wasn’t good enough for 40 Republican senators. Sen, Reid has vowed not to give up getting the long term unemployed the benefits they need.