Obama Signs Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill

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Unemployment Extension July 23 2010 Update: House Passed HR 4213 Unemployment Extension Bill and President Obama Signed It Into Law- Finally, after three days of unemployment extension vote, the unemployment extension bill named HR 4213 has finally became a law after President Obama signed it on Thursday, just after the House passed it in a vote of 272-152.

Last Tuesday, July 20, 2010, we saw that the first unemployment extension vote happened when Senate voted to counter the Republican filibuster. With the help of Senator Carte Goodwin who replaced the late Robert Byrd from West Virginia, Democrats ruled the Senate vote closing at 60-40 vote for the much awaited passage of unemployment extension bill.

Two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe, both from Maine voted with the Democrats to pass the bill while one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson from Nebraska voted with Republicans against it. Meanwhile, two Independents, Senators Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut and Bernie Sander from Vermont voted in favor of the Democrats to pass the bill.

The next day, July 21, 2010, the final Senate vote happened shortly after 7 p.m. when the “motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to the bill with Reid Amendment No. 4425” passed the Senate gathering the needed “yes” votes of 51 on a vote of 59 to 39.

And finally, one day after that, the unemployment extension bill finally passed the Congress after the House of Representatives voted for it on a vote of 272-152. Immediately after that, President Obama signed it to become an official law to restore the unemployment benefits for Americans who have been out of work for six months or more. The move finally ended an interruption that cut off unemployment benefit payments averaging about $300 a week to about 2.5 million Americans who have been unable to find a job after the financial crisis that brought the US into a recession.

In his statement, Obama said:

Today, I signed the unemployment insurance extension to restore desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession.

After a partisan minority used procedural tactics to block the authorization of this assistance three separate times over the past weeks, Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times.

Further, Obama called on Congress to pass a new loan program for small business owners that would support the economic recovery of the US saying:

Now it’s time for Congress to act on more proposals that support our economic recovery, including passing critical aid to our states and support to small businesses.

Small businesses are the engine of job growth, and measures to cut their taxes and make lending available should not be held hostage to partisan tactics like those that unconscionably held up unemployment insurance.

Unemployment Extension Bill H.R. 4213, now signed to become a law, would extend the filing deadline for unemployment insurance benefits which expired last June 2 to until November 30, 2010 allowing unemployed individuals to file and move into their next tier of unemployment benefits. This is not the Tier 5 that most unemployed Americans are clamoring as it would not create additional weeks of unemployment benefits.

For those eligible unemployed Americans, this law states that 99 weeks would still be the maximum amount of time an unemployed individual could receive unemployment benefits for states with 8.5% and above unemployment rates and 86 weeks would still be the maximum time for those who are located in states with below 8.5% unemployment rates.

Furthermore, the Federal Additional Compensation Program providing an extra of $25 per week of unemployment benefits payments and COBRA would not be extended under this law.