Emergency Unemployment Benefits Extension Clears First Hurdle in the Senate

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted to move forward with a bill to extend emergency unemployment compensation to the long-term unemployed. The bill would provide retroactive benefits for unemployed workers cut off from emergency unemployment benefits and extend the program for two months, until June 1st.

A bipartisan group of 65 senators, including 10 Republicans, agreed to allow the extension to go to final vote in the Senate, where the measure is now widely expected to pass early next week.

Over the course of the past week, the Center for Effective Government has been busy visiting the offices of 23 senators to deliver, in person, the stories we have received from our readers. For each office, we separated out stories from the senator’s constituents while also presenting a collection of the stories we’ve received nationally. (Note: All stories are anonymized before being distributed.)

It was inspiring to hear the phones ringing off the hook in every office I visited, as constituents from all over the country were urging their representatives to push the unemployment benefits extension forward.

I was visiting the office of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) on Capitol Hill when yesterday’s vote took place. Kirk was one of the 10 Republican senators who has shown a willingness to work across the political aisle to get things done. In a statement earlier this month, Kirk said:

Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and it has been a priority of mine to find a financially responsible and commonsense way to extend unemployment benefits for those in need of them…This is an issue that is affecting thousands of citizens, and I strongly urge my colleagues across the aisle to support this responsible legislation.

The 65 senators who voted yesterday to move the emergency unemployment benefits extension forward included:

Ayotte (R-NH), Baldwin (D-WI), Begich (D-AK), Bennet (D-CO), Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Coats (R-IN), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Corker (R-TN), Donnelly (D-IN), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Hagan (D-NC), Harkin (D-IA), Heinrich (D-NM), Heitkamp (D-ND), Heller (R-NV), Hirono (D-HI), Johnson (D-SD), Johnson (R-WI), Kaine (D-VA), King (I-ME), Kirk (R-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN), Landrieu (D-LA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Manchin (D-WV), Markey (D-MA), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Mikulski (D-MD), Murkowski (R-AK), Murphy (D-CT), Murray (D-WA), Nelson (D-FL), Portman (R-OH), Pryor (D-AR), Reed (D-RI), Reid (D-NV), Rockefeller (D-WV), Sanders (I-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Toomey (R-PA), Udall (D-CO), Udall (D-NM), Walsh (D-MT), Warner (D-VA), Warren (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI), and Wyden (D-OR).

Thank these senators for supporting a vote on extending emergency unemployment benefits and urge them to continue their support in the final vote next week.

Once the bill passes the Senate, it will move to the House where its future is less clear. While it is important to acknowledge the importance of yesterday’s vote, much work remains to be done, including staying organized to continue fighting for the millions of unemployed Americans still looking for work.

The following are resources to make sure politicians continue to hear your voice on emergency unemployment compensation (EUC):

  • Thank the senators who have fought so hard to extend emergency unemployment benefits by looking up their contact information here. Let them know extending the emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) program still makes a difference, and you are still watching.
  • Urge your representative to support the unemployment extension when the issue comes up in the House by entering your zip code here. You’ll be directed to a letter put together by the Half in Ten campaign.
  • Call your representative using this number, provided by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME): 877-363-6141.
  • Share your story via our web form here, which we will share with representatives and journalists to highlight the urgency of renewing unemployment insurance.
  • Join our Google Group to share stories and resources with others who are either unemployed or passionate about the issue.
  • Stay in touch with the Center for Effective Government by signing up for our e-mail updates and action alerts here.
  • Find links to the Center for Effective Government's recent blog posts on unemployment insurance here.


For Further Reading:

Emergency Unemployment Benefits Are Not ForgottenThe Fine Print blog, Feb. 26, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Ways to Take ActionThe Fine Print blog, March 6, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Time to Petition the GovernmentThe Fine Print blog, March 12, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Compromise in the SenateThe Fine Print blog, March 14, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Boehner Signals Reluctance in the HouseThe Fine Printblog, March 21, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Benefits Extension Clears First Hurdle in the SenateThe Fine Printblog, March 28, 2014

Extending Emergency Unemployment: Senate Finally Expected to Vote to Extend Benefits   and Rush through Corporate Tax CutsThe Fine Print blog, April 2, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Benefits Bill Passes the Senate, Increasing Pressure on the HouseThe Fine Print blog, April 8, 2014

Stories of Americans Cut Off of Emergency Unemployment CompensationGovernment Matters, April 22, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Extension Expected to Take Back Seat to Tax ExtendersThe Fine Print blog, April 25, 2014

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Thank you Center for Effective Government and Jessica Schieder for another story on EUC! Thanks for the continued support!
While thanks are in order, this should never have been allowed to expire in the first place. For every one position available, there are on average over 100 applicants. And yet then, we are told it's getting better. Now, the work begins in the House to get something passed. Amazing how we can come up with $1B in aid to the Ukraine, and Boehner also has no problem sinking $835,000 for a condo on Marco Island, FL while Americans are losing their homes and everything they worked so hard for through no fault of their own! Congress, we have to start helping our own people!
Welcome Sammyjo! I agree with you. It would have been nice if the EUC been included in the 2014 budget. It a IS PAID FOR bill now. We are hoping all this work in the Senate will make for a speedier trip in the House next week!
Here are the REPUBLICAN Senators that voted "yes" in the procedure vote to pass EUC (S2148) on 3/27/14. The last 4-digits of their phone numbers are included. The prefix to the phone numbers are: (202) 224- Ayotte, Kelly (NH) 3324 Coats, Daniel (IN) 5623 Collins, Susan (ME) 2523 Corker, Bob (TN) 3344 Heller, Dean (NV) 6244 Johnson, Ron (WI) 5323 Kirk, Mark (IL) 2854 Murkowski, Lisa (AK) 6665 Portman, Rob (OH) 3353 Toomey, Patrick (PA) 4254 Call and thank them from the Center For Effective Government!
Our last hurdle this next week will be getting the EUC bill to the House for the final vote needed! Since Boehner is the Speaker of the House he gets to decide what bills reach the floor for vote. He has already shown his opposition and keep adding lame reasons against the EUC. I called Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's office on Friday and talked to her Press Secretary. Pelosi has been circulated a Discharge Petition in the House for signatures. The Discharge Petion needs 218 votes (all the Democrats will sign and we only need 20 Rebublicans to follow). Currently the petition has 193. This petition allows a bill to bypass the Speaker and go straight to the House for a vote! We want this! Last week the Senate and House were off on vacation. Before they left they didn't work that Friday so some Democrats didn't get to sign it. Hopefully as the Senate finishes their EUC business at the first of the week, Pelosi will get the needed signatures for the Discharge Petition and we can bypass Boehner!
EUC 2014, by Allison Doyle (Aboutdotcom) Update March 28, 2014: The Senate voted (65 - 34) yesterday to move legislation to restore federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013 forward. The agreement would provide for a 5 month extension retroactive to December 28 and has bipartisan support - 10 Republican Senators voted for the legislation. The next step is another vote in the Senate, which should be held on Monday: Adoption of the motion to proceed to H.R.3979, the legislative vehicle for the Unemployment Insurance extension (voice vote expected) If passed in the Senate, the legislation, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014 Reed-Heller and others, would then need to be passed by the House.
Im bout to loose my car next week, im homeless now. House of Repr. Please help us I have worked for 9 years an gotten laid off.
Reality is this will not make it thru before there vacation. Dems need approval from Obama for the bills boehner is asking for. I give up
Anonymous 5:01: Have you called your State representatives and House Representatives? There is a link right below this article where you can get contact information for your zip code. Each day I post a "call list" of the House Representatives we need to call with their phone numbers. It takes about 45 minutes to call the entire list if you just leave a message. These politicians also have websites, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. The only way our voices will be heard is to keep calling, writing them and put the pressure on them. They react to voters not wanting to vote for them or their party in the future!
The National Emergencies Act (Pub.L. 94–412, 90 Stat. 1255, enacted September 14, 1976, codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1601-1651) is a United States federal law passed to stop open-ended states of national emergency and formalize the power ofCongress to provide certain checks and balances on the emergency powers of the President. It imposes certain "procedural formalities" on the President when invoking such powers. The perceived need for the law arose from the scope and number of laws granting special powers to the executive in times of national emergency (or public danger). Starving children. Homeless families. People wanting to riot and loot. Are these considered public danger?