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New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

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When will Congress act to extend ARRA and the EUC program?

Post  nancym on Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:52 am

This is similar to a previous post about NELP and their efforts to push for new legislation. Those who are running out of benefits in January are especially encouraged to respond.

-------------------------NELP email------------------------------
Hi Nancy,

We previously spoke about individuals losing their benefits in January 2010. NELP is looking for people to tell their stories so Congress knows how important it is to reauthorize the Recovery Act as soon as possible. If you know anyone that may be interested, please forward them the information below.

Individuals should respond to unemployedworkers.org@gmail.com and the subject should be RE: Exhausting UI January 2010 Thank You!!

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides extended unemployment benefits to workers through December 31, 2009. Reauthorization of the Recovery Act is highly anticipated, however telling people’s real life stories is crucial to policy change. If Congress does not reauthorize the Recovery Act by the end of the year, people who run out of benefits January 2010 will have no safety net at all. We really need you to speak out about the impact of exhausting benefits in January.

If you are interested, please respond to this email by telling me a little about your situation. Please include your home town, the job you previously held and how long have you been collecting unemployment benefits. We would specifically like to know what the day after losing benefits in January will look like to you; will you be able to pay your mortgage or utility bills? Also include a phone number so we can follow up and speak to you personally.

By answering these questions, you may be quoted and reporters from your local news may contact you. We understand this could be intrusive to some, but getting your story out to the public increases the chances of Congress reauthorizing the Recovery Act.

--
Disclaimer
No legal advice is being given and no attorney-client relationship is created by the use of this information. An attorney should be consulted for more detailed information in individual cases. The National Employment Law Project (NELP) shall not be liable for the information provided herein, or for the results obtained from the use of such information.


Last edited by nancym on Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:21 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : topic title)
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OC member is collecting stories for NELP and the media

Post  nancym on Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:23 pm

This was posted on Open Congress by rmiranda77. She is collecting and relaying stories to NELP and other agencies and the media to support new legislation in Congress. So you can use the NELP form or this new avenue, or both!

(posted on OC Nov 20, 2009 10:26am)

"Hi all. I know some of you are probably already sick of this post, but it seems to be working, so don't mind me for the next few days if I repeat this message...If you would like your voice heard, please email your story to help4theunemployed@yahoo.com. You do NOT have to give personal information. First name or initials, and your state. Please give a brief summary of how these delays are effecting your day-to-day life as well as how it will effect you if the expiration date is not moved out or eliminated. These stories are being forwarded to NELP,momsrising, the media, the House, the Senate, and for those in California, to Ms. Boxer. Also, I've been asked that you please add when your benefits are set(or have already) to run out, i.e. before or after expiration date, next month. "
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Follow-up on your stories

Post  nancym on Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:07 am

This post is a follow-up from Open Congress member rminranda77, about her efforts this week to collect stories from everyone. The emphasis is on how people will be impacted negatively if Congress doesn't act before January to extend the deadlines. You can still respond to her email this weekend if you want to be included in this effort, and/or respond to the NELP request posted earlier:

rmiranda77 Nov 20, 2009 9:07pm

"Evening folks. First off, for all of those of you who took the time to tell your story, thank you so much. I've had a chance to review a lot of them(when I logged on this evening there were 767 altogether), although I still have a ways to go. I do have to ask one small favor. I absolutely respect each and every persons own political views, but the basis of my search is how the delay of H.R.3548 both in congress and now in each of our states, are effecting your daily lives. Also, how it will effect you if the expiration date next month isn't moved out or done away with. I'm also requesting you add when/if/are going to, exhaust your benefits. This will give NELP and others fighting on the front lines, for all of us, the ammo they need to help in any way possible to get things moving as quickly as possible. And finally, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry for what you're all going through. It's one thing to see posts here, but to read your stories. I'm just...sorry. Good night all."
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:30 pm

This one will make your blood boil--

New $100 billion safety net for jobless in works

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jtVeIIdisBfY9MqO-7mZhm09HQHwD9CAM3KG0
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We have a new bill number!

Post  nancym on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:05 pm

Rep. Jim McDermott, the original author of the most recent bill that passed for the unemployed, HR 3548, has introduced a new bill in the House, HR 4183. It currently has around 21 co-sponsors. This is the bill that is needed to extend the EUC program to ensure that we will actually be able to access Tier 4 that passed Congress, but is cut off on Dec 31.

Here are some links:

Text of the bill (very convoluted to read, since it amends amendments of amendments of amendments--or something like that. Smile
http://unemployed-friends.forumotion.com/unemployment-extensions-and-legislation-f3/new-bill-text-for-hr-4183-legislation-to-extend-current-tier-benefits-arra-dates-through-march-2011-t2069.htm

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h4183/comments?comment_sort=newest (Open Congress discussion, text of bill soon to come)

As expected, this could get very expensive, very fast. The more money involved, the longer it takes!
http://progressillinois.com/2009/12/3/mcdermott-ui-benefit-extension

More background info:

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/mi12_levin/PR12022009.shtml

http://www.detnews.com/article/20091203/POLITICS03/912030368/1025/POLITICS03/Bill-would-extend-Michigan-jobless-pay-6-more-weeks

So when you call your Congressmen and they act like they have no idea what you are talking about, you can now simply give them a bill number --HR 4183--and tell them to get it done!


Last edited by nancym on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:31 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : added last links)
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Writing To Your U.S. Rep & Senator

Post  Michael55 on Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:52 am

Here is a copy of what I sent to My Congressman in the FL 8th Dist. [Orlando]. The only way I can find to do so is by using the "form" they provide for writing to Congress. On their list of "Message Subjects" from which You can choose, "Unemployment Benefits" does NOT even appear! Anyway, here's a copy:

To: Congressman Alan Grayson:

(How telling that My subject is NOT on the "Message Subject" list.)

The Unemployment Benefits Extension bill signed on Nov. 8 by President Obama covers only those whose benefits expire by the end of Dec. 2008. There are several million others whose benefits expire in Jan. and Feb. 2010 and who will NOT receive the extension unless You and the rest of the House and Senate change the Dec. expiration date.

Please, Mr. Grayson, don't tarry. Work NOW to have the expiration date changed so that millions of Us remain able to pay rent and are not forced to take up residence at the Coalition For the Homeless in downtown Orlando, or other such facilities.

And You might think about adding "Unemployment Benefits" to the list of Message Subjects about which You deem it worthy to receive emails.

Best Wishes,
Michael C.
District 8 - Orlando
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Writing to Your U.S. Rep and Senators

Post  Michael55 on Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:54 am

Here is a copy of what I sent to My Congressman in the FL 8th Dist. [Orlando]. The only way I can find to do so is by using the "form" they provide for writing to Congress. On their list of "Message Subjects" from which You can choose, "Unemployment Benefits" does NOT even appear! Anyway, here's a copy:

To: Congressman Alan Grayson:

(How telling that My subject is NOT on the "Message Subject" list.)

The Unemployment Benefits Extension bill signed on Nov. 8 by President Obama covers only those whose benefits expire by the end of Dec. 2008. There are several million others whose benefits expire in Jan. and Feb. 2010 and who will NOT receive the extension unless You and the rest of the House and Senate change the Dec. expiration date.

Please, Mr. Grayson, don't tarry. Work NOW to have the expiration date changed so that millions of Us remain able to pay rent and are not forced to take up residence at the Coalition For the Homeless in downtown Orlando, or other such facilities.

And You might think about adding "Unemployment Benefits" to the list of Message Subjects about which You deem it worthy to receive emails.

Best Wishes,
Michael C.
District 8 - Orlando
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Michael55 on Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:10 am

[quote="nancym"] . . . a new bill in the House, HR 4183 ... is the bill that is needed to extend the EUC program to ensure that we will actually be able to access Tier 4 that passed Congress, but is cut off on Dec 31.

GREAT !! But what about accessing Tier 3 first - for those whose Tier 2 benefits run out in Jan. or Feb? Is there anything in HR 4183 to address that?
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:22 pm

[quote="Michael55"]
nancym wrote: . . . a new bill in the House, HR 4183 ... is the bill that is needed to extend the EUC program to ensure that we will actually be able to access Tier 4 that passed Congress, but is cut off on Dec 31.

GREAT !! But what about accessing Tier 3 first - for those whose Tier 2 benefits run out in Jan. or Feb? Is there anything in HR 4183 to address that?

Yes, extending the EUC deadline date will include access to Tier 3. I'm sorry, I mentioned Tier 4 mainly because those who have been unemployed the longest (among them the earliest group on this forum), are mainly concerned about Tier 4 since we will all qualify for the Tier 3 that we've been waiting for so long. But of course everyone across the board is concerned with this abrupt cutoff. Even people on regular benefits are up against not even being able to access any of the Tiers in the middle of this Great Recession.

I haven't studied this bill yet to see what the exact details are; mainly I'm taking the word of news and blog articles about the content at this stage. As the official text comes out in the various govt and other Congressional watchdog sites, there will be summaries. But also I'm not spending a lot of time poring over the legal language because I think it will probably change a lot by the time Congress has any action on it. This is a first bill that will be bounced around, might even be incorporated into one of those kitchen-sink "omnibus" bills that get passed at the end of the year. Even though this is an emergency and the details matter, it's a start to get Congress focused on the problem at least with a bill number.
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Senate companion bill

Post  nancym on Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:52 am

FYI everybody, we now have a companion bill to HR 4183 in the Senate: S. 2831, now in the Senate Finance Committee. The Open Congress overview page is here:

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s2831/show
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petition to get rid of the filibuster

Post  nancym on Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:00 am

And speaking of the Senate, if you never again want to witness the fiasco we watched as HR 3548 slogged through the Senate at tortoise speed while we lost homes, credit, and our sanity, consider signing this petition from Alan Grayson to stop the filibuster in the Senate rules:

http://stopsenatestalling.com/

I'd be the first to admit that the Senate was designed to move a bit more slowly than the House by design, but the extent to which this rule of filibuster has been used in recent years has done more harm than good. This rule is NOT in the Constitution, and the results of its use is NOT the romantic dramatization of justice that we saw with Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but quite the opposite in the way it has been used. A time for an end to this Senate rule has come.

If you want some excruciating detail on the pros and cons and how they can go about revoking this rule, see this article:

http://news.firedoglake.com/2009/11/27/the-nascent-movement-to-end-the-filibuster/
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extension of arra

Post  connorsgp on Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:21 am

Hi everyone here's my take on the extension of ARRA beyond the Dec deadline. I believe Congress will add an extension albiet for a shorter term in an omnibus piece of legislation that will be enacted before they recess for the Christmas break. I believe we'll see ARRA extended till probably end of March 2010 with a longer extension at a later date. Both houses of Congress realize that letting ARRA expire on 12/31 would have dire economic consequences in our fragile economy not to mention the political fallout of millions of long term unemployed being left with no lifeline....they might be slow, but politicians are not stupid..ARRA will get extended before the deadline.

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:55 pm

I don't know where this post applies. So I'll post here with my fingers crossed. My EUC2 benefits would have exhausted by 12/26. But then when I checked my balance today, there was an extra $107. added to my funds. This will leave me with an $6.00 balance on 12/26, which will extend my benefits ( with a six dollar check) thru Jan2. And I will miss the cutoff for the Tier3 extention by two days.

I called the unemployment office and was told that the President had signed something that added 4% to my original benefit amount. I asked if they could take it back or if I could deny it. But they said no. Is anyone familiar with this four percent thing? Is it legitimate? It really screwed me up because the job situation here is bad, and I was hoping that by march or april it might look a little rosier. I was anticipating that extra 20 weeks. Now I am just floored.

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:44 pm

Jeff, you have several replies over in the "Latest news" section for EUC, if you haven't already seen them.

For anyone else here, that 4% is what it translates out to be from the extra week that was added to Tier 2 with HR3548, which really has become a processing nightmare, apparently.
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:42 pm

nancym wrote:Jeff, you have several replies over in the "Latest news" section for EUC, if you haven't already seen them.

For anyone else here, that 4% is what it translates out to be from the extra week that was added to Tier 2 with HR3548, which really has become a processing nightmare, apparently.

Many thanks Nan. Sorry about the double post. I'm keeping with the other thread, and much appreciate your input. Should I delete the post here?

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:05 pm

Jeff wrote:
nancym wrote:Jeff, you have several replies over in the "Latest news" section for EUC, if you haven't already seen them.

For anyone else here, that 4% is what it translates out to be from the extra week that was added to Tier 2 with HR3548, which really has become a processing nightmare, apparently.

Many thanks Nan. Sorry about the double post. I'm keeping with the other thread, and much appreciate your input. Should I delete the post here?

That's ok, let's leave it here. Others might want to know where that odd 4% came from as well. And you a "living example" of the urgency of this new bill!
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:47 pm

News you can use:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34382858/ns/politics-capitol_hill/

Jobless benefits attached to war funding bill


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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  connorsgp on Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:58 pm

Ofcourse the ARRA extension was a complete no brainer it was just a matter of what "must pass" bill it was attached to....ofcourse this means that the entire tier system if fully in place until June 30, 2010 and if the employment picture is still as dismal as it is now look for another extension until DEc, 2010 and possibly Tier 5...God, I don't want to think about that!

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  grandmom49 on Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:59 am

I am really confused. So many posts & NELP are saying that we can all lose our benefits at the end of this year if Congress does not reenact the Recovery act.
Yet this is what recovery.gov says. "three key provisions of the Recovery Act were either extended or expanded.
Emergency Unemployment Compensation
The new legislation adds another 14 weeks of unemployment benefits. In states exceeding an 8.5 percent unemployment rate (currently 26 states), an additional six weeks of benefits are available, for a total of 20 weeks. In all cases, the $25 in Recovery funds added to each regular benefit payment also continues".


When you extend an expiration date don't you rescind that expiration date and change it to the later date? What am I not understanding here?


Last edited by grandmom49 on Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:02 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : incorrect website quoted)

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:00 pm

grandmom49--

Weird, isn't it! It took me a while to figure out why the heck the new legislation didn't just nullify previous deadlines as well. After all, HR 3548 clearly states that the requirement for being eligible for each Tier is simply the exhaustion of the previous tier! Cripes, even NELP's first press release didn't pick up on the now infamous "glitch" that stopped us all at whatever Tier we were on, and they're lawyers!

I think the snafu came to light immediately after the bill passed when the people who actually implement this law, probably along with each state's legal teams, looked at exactly how they could carry out Congress' intentions. But on close inspection of the laws, the conflict was noticed. How much Congress realized this while they were delaying everything is up for debate I think. Judging from their comments, some of them were completely clueless even about the basics of the law.

But we have two laws that overlapped at the wrong time, saying conflicting things. HR 3548 did do all those extentions, which wouldn't have been a problem if the law had passed back in October. And there was never any intention in that law to extend the Tiers for all the unemployed into the whole of 2010--that was planned to be passed AFTER HR 3548, as a much more expensive bill, sort of like the jobs bill they are talking about now. But with months of delay, the intention to help those running out of benefits way back in September and into December was thwarted, spilling us all into a rush job with the states this month.

So HR 3548, as written, did not require an extention of the ARRA deadlines for the entire EUC program, since everyone who was running out of benefits last September would have used them up by now! But we're stuck with it on the books as is. The "glitch" that was pointed out by the states was that even though payable dates for the Tiers went into 2010, the last date for QUALIFYING for those Tiers was cut off at Dec 31, again, not a problem if the bill had passed as intended by Rep McDermott back on September or October.

The issue gets messy also because these laws are so often written as amendments to amendments to amendments to other laws. Sounds a bit strange, but there is some sense to it legally. HR 3548 is written as an amendment to the EUC bill that Bush signed back in Nov '08, creating the extra Tiers and a few other items. The ARRA bill extended the deadlines for that November '08 law til Dec 31. Then we have to extend the ARRA bill deadlines! These deadlines are based on what funding has been enacted for these bills, and what the states can do with that funding, so it can get a little intricate in how each state can go forward with implementing these federal laws.
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  connorsgp on Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:45 pm

Nancym the bottom line on the extension of ARRA issue is, after clearing away all the procedural crap, is that the extension will get done next week before the 18th because it will be attached to a must pass funding bill for funding of the war efforts. The extension is only 6 mos till June 30 ; however, that will be extended as well if job numbers don't improve

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  grandmom49 on Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:56 am

In other words, they knew they had this defense funding bill coming up and needed to attach a must pass bill to it. So that in order for us to continue to receive unemployment we have to support passage of the bill that will continue the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Politicians suck.

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  connorsgp on Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:35 am

the defense spending bill is the must pass bill with the ARRA extension attached

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:47 am

Yup, that's politics in Washington for ya. Besides all sides essentially having not much choice in voting for these big bills, they all have billions in earmarks every time. The earmarks in this bill and the other big appropriations bill have around the amount of earmarks that was needed to pay for HR3548! If it weren't for the fact that this emergency funding for the unemployed were in this bill, I would vote against this bill myself, just on the earmarks!

In a sense, this is "our earmark," but not really, since the unemployment provisions are targeted to help the most need in the greastest number of states, the way federal legislation should work, unlike most of these provisions that spend millions on projects that help the few in exchange for local support and campaign contributions. The one thing I agree with Sen McCain on is his outrage about this kind of manipulation to get earmarks funded. All the savings that come from endless debate on smaller bills goes down the drain when these bills come to the floor. A really dumb way to run the country's budget, especially in these critical times.
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  grandmom49 on Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:53 am

I don't know what to think anymore. I am going to look at the bill and see how many of the amendments that were not allowed to be attached to the bill which was passed are attached to this defense spending bill. I can't wait for the roll out of the new civil communication websites someone I know owns.

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

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