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Sen. Sherrod Brown talks with supporter
Sen. Sherrod Brown's involvement in this deal is a good sign it doesn't suck too much.
The Senate's bipartisan deal to extend unemployment aid is good news for around two million people who've lost their jobless benefits, but their wait isn't over. The deal, which renews benefits for five months, retroactive to the program's December 28 cutoff, won't get a vote until the Senate returns from its St. Patrick's Day recess on March 24, and it won't be the very first order of business then, either. And that's just the Senate. House Speaker John Boehner hasn't said what he'll do, and as much as you'd think a popular bipartisan bill would get a quick House vote, that's not necessarily how Boehner's House rolls.

Even in the Senate, passage may come by a whisker. There are five Republicans on board; if that remains the case, it means that every single Democrat will need to vote for the bill despite its concessions to Republican demands. Not that those concessions were enough for the majority of Republicans:

Notably absent were Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.), who engaged in negotiations with Democrats but were not listed as co-sponsors of the legislation. Coats, the most conservative senator involved in the debate, said he was eventually “frozen out.”

Coats said negotiators would not include his language that would have denied unemployment benefits to those that have received “suitable” job offers. He rejected an offer that would have launched a study into his suitability language and said the dispute would make it hard for him to ultimately support the bill.

“I’ll give it one final look,” Coats said. “If you conclude I’m a ‘no,’ that’s a pretty good conclusion.”

Poor baby didn't get every single one of his demands. It will be interesting, though, to see what Republicans do on this one if and when passage looks completely assured; will some of them jump on board then? As for Democrats, the group involved in crafting the deal included Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, suggesting that the Senate's liberals aren't balking at a plan that:
... would use several offsets to pay for the $10 billion cost of extending the benefits, including pension smoothing provisions from the 2012 highway bill, which were set to phase out this year, and extending customs user fees through 2024.

The bill also includes an additional offset allowing single-employer pension plans to prepay their flat rate premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

The measure would also prevent millionaires and billionaires from receiving the federal benefits.

The proposal also includes language pushed by Collins to strengthen reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) and re-employment services (RES) programs, which provide help to unemployed workers when they enter their 27th week of benefits.

Republicans got an awful lot of what they wanted. On March 24 or 25, after a suitable pause for St. Patrick's Day, we'll see if this deal will do the trick in the Senate. And that's the easy part—then it's on to the House, where we'll see how far Republican spite toward jobless people and Democratic policy priorities goes.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How will the retroactivity work? (5+ / 0-)

    Will people receive a  lump sum payment for the three missed months or will benefit time simply be tacked on to the end of their eligibility?

    What happens to those lucky enough to find work two months in?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:35:33 AM PDT

    •  From what I understand... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pangur ban, dinotrac'll have to certify each week of retroactive benefits just like standard unemployment, including filing proof you were job hunting during those weeks.  If you were lucky enough to get a job 2 months in, you just say that after 8 weeks of certification, and get a check for 8 weeks of EUC.

      The real awkwardness is going to be because some EUC seekers had to take time off from job hunting to, you know, actually make some money on the side, because there's no way they could depend on EUC being restored (and IMHO, stilll can't).  It's going to be a mess unless they waive the job search requirements from retroactive EUC.  Fat chance of that with a Republican Congress.

  •  Sander Levin inre Medicare Payments to Doctors (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53, shoeless

    debate going on in the house right now.....'March is irrelevant...November is everything.'

  •  Instead of spending so much time (9+ / 0-)

    on a few benefits for a few people, why don't they get off their butts and get a REAL jobs bill, so the rest of us -- who are just as unemployed but getting NOT ONE CENT of benefits -- might have a chance at a job as well.

    Why do they take all this time and spend all their argument energy on a tiny group of people when so many of the rest of us desperately need help as well?

    If that sounds selfish, well, I haven't had a job since January 2007, and my six months of benefits ran out a long damn time ago.

    How about the rest of us drowning out here? Is there a lifeline to be found?

    Why don't they do something that will help ALL of us instead of dickering endlessly over some select few?

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:37:12 AM PDT

    •  Brooke - I hear you. I'm in your camp (4+ / 0-)

      as well.  It's those "select few" who are currently visible nand getting the attention.

      The remainder of us are far away in the rearview mirror.

    •  It's long past time for that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      geez53, thomask, pangur ban

      for sure.

      why don't they get off their butts and get a REAL jobs bill, so the rest of us -- who are just as unemployed but getting NOT ONE CENT of benefits -- might have a chance at a job as well.
      They really need to do both, but not one at the expense of the other.  

      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:05:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The "stimulus" provided very short-term employment (0+ / 0-)

      spread out over the whole country.  And that cost $800 Billion.

      Even if only half of it went to pay for jobs and not tax cuts, that is still $400 Billion.

      What kind of "REAL jobs bill" are you talking about?  It's a pipe dream that the federal government can create a significant number of jobs to substantially employ large numbers of people full time.  It would have to be trillions of dollars and it would still be a finite term.

      The jobs need to come from the private sector.  But this Congress and this administration are more concerned about minimum wages than the people making zero wages.

      •  Maybe you forgot the stimulus that was WW II (0+ / 0-)

        Entirely created by the Federal government. It still runs our economy.

        Raise taxes on the 1% and watch those assholes INVEST those oversized nest eggs corporations and uber-rich family trusts have been sitting on since the Great Collapse of 2007. And watch the economy take off like a SHOT, just like 1993-6...

        If we raise taxes on them, do you think there's a rat's ass of a chance of them paying one single DIME of that raise to the evil gummint? They will invest in businesses just to avoid that, and they will be FORCED to create some fucking jobs.

        The truth is this, and I only realized it a few short months ago from some oblique yet true blog post: 3/4s of all jobs are simply accounting for all the wealth in the economy. 1/4 of the jobs are essential; the rest are just gatekeepers and minimum wage security guards watching THEIR money in the cash register.

        We don't NEED every person working to have an economy that serves us all, but with this many people out of work already and for years on end, worrying about those WITH jobs is being overly cautious. Change is needed, has been for years, and it IS coming no matter how the Federal government dithers...

        "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

        by DaddyO on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:02:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Seems like a...distraction (0+ / 0-)

      Don't it? They get their political bona fides from 'fighting hard' for an incredibly tiny but loudspeaker-loud issue that the corporate media has adopted.

      You hit that nail right on the head. Lots more people to worry about than just the RECENTLY unemployed. The rest of us are waiting, and getting more impatient as the clock winds down on the Obama Administration.

      How many jobs will his Administration have created? The numbers will certainly be muddied by that brand new statistic created in the wake of the economic collapse that began the Great Recession: Jobs saved.

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 10:54:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can't expect Congress to give up (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, geez53, a2nite, JJ In Illinois

    its vital Saint Patrick's Day vacation. It's "hard work," as Dubya used to say. They deserve some kick back and kick the poor time.


    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:39:45 AM PDT

  •  So...the senate is taking St. Patrick's Day off (12+ / 0-)

    while millions remain without jobless benefits? What a soul crushingly apt microcosm of the problems we face in this country.

    Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

    by blueyescryinintherain on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:42:44 AM PDT

  •  The irony is palpable (8+ / 0-)

    Only Republicans could slap down jobless benefits for "lazy" unemployed people by not getting to it before their St. Patrick's Day break.

    Are you fucking kidding me?? And that asshole Coats is going to sit there and lecture us?? Yeah, that's our problem - we're getting tons of job offers that we just don't want to take. The BF has applied for over 400 jobs in the past year and a half, and got five interviews. Five. You want to guess how many offers he got??

    Money should be treated like any other controlled substance; if you can't use it responsibly then you don't get to use it.

    by La Gitane on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:45:43 AM PDT

  •  Since when was a St. Patrick's Day Break (6+ / 0-)

    a thing?  WTF?  

    Anyway... "

    Coats said negotiators would not include his language that would have denied unemployment benefits to those that have received “suitable” job offers.
    Amoung all the other stupid reasons the republicans block jobs plans and reinstating the extended UI, this one tends to jump out at me.  How does he plan on tracking people who have received a "suitable" job offer?  And how do you do that without the dreaded government intrusion?  

    You need an excuse for screwing over American citizens, yet again, fine - but at least make the excuses somewhat plausible.  

    And of course the republicans got a lot of what they asked for - they always do.  The TP/RNC has been holding this country hostage for four years now.

  •  St. Patrick's Day *recess*? (5+ / 0-)


    I understand that Congress has business in their own districts too, but these recesses are out of control, particularly if you're waiting for them to stop dragging their feet on this particular issue.

    Is there ever a point where they can be compelled to get this kind of stuff done before they "recess", other than by executive order or by order of the Speaker or Majority Leadership? This is ridiculous!

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:02:41 AM PDT

  •  Republicans have a funny idea about insurance. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They think health insurance companies should not have to pay claims for health care, and the government should not have to pay claims for unemployment insurance.

    Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfu*king snows on this motherfu*king plain!

    by shoeless on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:06:47 AM PDT

  •  The first sacking of Rome, the people just stood (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, pangur ban

    back and watched. The Great Wall wasn't breached the people let the Mongols in.

    And i shouldn't post when my work-related broken back makes me grouchy.

    To paraphrase:
    FUck the rich, feed the poor
    Till there are no poor no more.

    21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

    by geez53 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:28:39 AM PDT

  •  We'll be back here by Memorial Day (0+ / 0-)

    It only extends UI until May. We'll be back here again by Memorial Day.

  •  "...a good sign it doesn't suck too much" (0+ / 0-)

    And this is the best we can expect. And this is why I despair of what is casually called 'politics' these days--despair deeply and often.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 10:50:31 AM PDT

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