Unemployment Extensions Restored

. Wednesday, March 3


The Senate voted on Tuesday to pass HR 4691 by a healthy margin: 78 to 19. Senator Jim Bunning gave a final plea to find the money to pay for the $10 million needed to go forward with unemployment extensions, COBRA, flood insurance, small business loans, satellite TV licensing and road projects. He even suggested that the money be taken out of a stimulus package instead of increasing the deficit before he stepped aside and let the vote happen.

House Minority Leader John Boehner defended Bunning by saying his argument was legitimate in light of the fact that legislation passed last week requiring bills not to increase the deficit.

The President weighed in as well, releasing a statement:

The bill passed tonight by the Senate will extend access to health care benefits for workers who have lost their jobs, help small businesses get loans so they can grow and hire, and extend unemployment insurance benefits for millions of Americans who are looking for work. I'm grateful to the members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle who worked to end this roadblock to relief for America's working families.

What is less known about this whole fiasco is that HR 4691 is a 30 day extension bill. What this means to the actual programs it funds is beyond my ability to decipher amid all the political posturing and gimmicks.

What I can understand is that the federally funded unemployment extensions are now available once again. The two-day lapse caused much headache and worry for millions of unemployed, and even more red tape to wade through for each state to deliver to those that need it.