November 4th, 2009
06:29 PM ET
11 years ago

Senate throws a lifeline to the jobless

NEW YORK ( - After weeks of partisan debate, the Senate voted on Wednesday to lengthen unemployment benefits by up to 20 weeks and to extend the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit.

The closely watched legislation would extend jobless benefits in all states by 14 weeks. Those that live in states with unemployment greater than 8.5% would receive an additional six weeks. The proposal would be funded by extending a longstanding federal unemployment tax on employers through June 30, 2011.

The measure would apply to those whose benefits will run out by Dec. 31, which is nearly two million people, according to Senate estimates. Those whose checks have already stopped would be able to reapply for another round.

The vote was 98 to 0.

The measure now moves to the House, which passed its own benefits extension in September, giving an additional 13 weeks in high-unemployment states. The two bills must now be reconciled, though the House is expected to support the Senate's version.

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Filed under: Economy • Senate
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but....

    Oh my God, the senate republicans just voted for a socialist handout to the folks who are too lazy to work. Come on! where are the comments from the "real Americans" who work and pay all the taxes? Have a nice evening!

    November 4, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. juge

    It's about time.

    November 4, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Robert

    While I applaud the passing of the unemployment for those truly searching for jobs in this rough economy. I am however, very disappointed that they would decide to extend and expand the first time home buyer's credit. Considering the absolute waste of it, and not to mention the fact that nearly 115000 claims for it have been pulled by the IRS for suspected tax fraud, one would think they would learn from the massive headache the credit has been. BTW, that's about 1 in 10 tax returns. Imagine how many more there will be with this extension, and expansion.

    Unemployment benefits is one thing; wasted taxpayer dollars on houses they would buy anyway, totally different.

    November 4, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. employer

    The gov't did not extend the benefits – they taxed employers who kept employees and paid it to employees that were laid off by others. It is easy to provide a benefit to struggling voters when it comes out of someone elses pocket.
    I agree with extending the benefits – but does it make sense that a temporary tax keeps getting extended. This tax just makes it harder to add amployee and hits the wrong employers because it is flat.

    November 4, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. Bpin

    Not a good idea. Many folks had rather draw unemployment than work. Some folks think that some jobs are beneath them, and they will not take them even if they are available. I would never entertain the thought of drawing unemployment. I can work doing something, even if I must take 2 or 3 jobs to eat. Pride at one time was a factor to all people in the US. Not any longer.

    November 4, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. charlie in Maine

    Finally the GOP shows up for something.

    November 4, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  7. cgillette369

    close down the senate!
    put them all on unemployment.

    November 4, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. Peter E

    So much for the 'fiscally conservative' republicans who keep claiming it is democrats who throw money around and give people free rides.

    November 4, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. Brenda

    Did you know that the Democrats voted AGAINST the use of E-Verify to confirm that US citizens/workers and LEGAL immigrants only were able to collect unemployment benefits??

    In other words........The Democrats voted to prevent E-Verify from being used to ensure that illegals were not collecting unemployment benefits!!!

    If you go to the Numbersusa site, click on the "Congress" tab and you can see how the Democrats and Republicans voted regarding this issue.

    November 4, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. America Shrugged

    Finally, a bi-partisan bill that was passed by most legislators in the Senate.. Thank you for thinking about the people who are suffering the most right now in this recession.

    November 4, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  11. Johnny DC

    Continue to hurt small businesses with yet another extended tax - DOES NOBODY SEE HOW HURTFUL THIS IS TO OUR ECONOMY?

    Some people are unfortunately unemployed. Some deserve what they get for the lack of effort they put in.

    It's up to us, the taxpayers and the successful, to pay for such people?

    November 4, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  12. Truly Independent in IL

    As is the case with most legislation with our current Congress: Too little, too late!!

    Due to the State of Illinois' backwards laws, I already got screwed. I even lost money because I actually found a job, went to work, & got laid off again. Now I can't even pay my bills!

    Thanks Congress!!!

    November 5, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |