A $140 billion bill put before the Senate to extend expiring benefits and tax provisions was passed today by a margin of 62 to 36. The bill is aimed at providing continued aid to the millions of jobless whose benefits have expired in the last few months.

Benefit Extension or Deficit Extension?

In order for the bill to avoid a filibuster, there needed to be a minimum of 60 votes in favor of extending benefits.  While the bill was primarily supported by Democrats, six Republicans ended up voting for the bill, with those who were opposed stating that it would only result in adding $140 billion to the federal deficit, which is already expected to hit record highs this year.

About $80 billion of the bill is dedicated to unemployment aid, including the COBRA health care benefits which are to now be extended to the jobless through December of this year. The rest of the bill is set aside for other measures that the Senate hopes will help to reduce the unemployment rate and fund popular tax breaks.

What Happens Next

While these extensions are helpful for the millions of people who are struggling in the current job market, it is still only a temporary fix. Unemployment benefits can keep someone afloat while the economy recovers, but it does not solve the more systemic problem of unemployment in the country. In fact, there are some studies which suggest that higher unemployment benefits lead to a decrease in attempts at job searching by the unemployed.

While the current jobs bill will come as a great relief to the unemployed, once the job markets turn around the Senate will have to look into more permanent solutions, like job training programs, and cut back on expensive unemployment aid programs that raise the federal deficit.  The bill now moves to the House, where already there has been discussion of modifications to the current content of the legislation.

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  • Pat

    Is this an extension ( tier 5)? I would much rather work but at this stage will take what I can get to keep my family going.

  • al

    of course not they just extended the deadlines and leave the rest of us out in the cold. it is really mind numbing to see how inept our congress is and the total lack of knowledge in even the basic needs of the people they have. it is just a a ouick attempt to do nothing and appear to have done something. business as usual. say this and do that – the hand is quicker than the eye – lol.

  • nimust

    They have not added any additional Tiers this bill helps a few but not the majority it will leave a million or more out of unemployment. Folks need to send a message to the house to add more tiers.

  • chris212

    This isn't a tier 5,if you have exhauseted your tier 4 and eb benefits your done,all this does is to extend the tiers not to add more

  • paul

    You should of been looking for employment instead of taking advantage of the system. 99 weeks and you still want more you should be ashamed of yourself!

  • pat

    I am 55 years old have worked my whole life, NEVER collected unemployment until now. I have 2 degrees and 786 resumes out there. I was downsized from my job, I didn't quit or give up. Still want more…how dare you!

  • PAGurl

    I beg to differ that it's “nothing” or “business as usual”. I fully understand how this bill has left long term unemployed out in the cold, however, for my husband who got let go in Oct 2009, it's the “extended” life line that we will count on, just as you have in the past. Definately not business as usual or “nothing”. This bill will help newly unemployed just as the Tiers helped you for the last <insert # here> of weeks. Why would you begrudge newly unemployed the same benefits that you have received?

  • suzs

    Paul can you get me a job at McDonalds where you work. Loser.

  • obama

    99 weeks is the end of road… Which is better now suicide or prison?

  • poorboy

    well they shud extender 6 month moore list we can enoftime to find job.

  • bmaes

    Are you kidding me,Yeah they extended the filing dates what about people already through tier 3
    is there a tier 4 or what's Eb what about 5? Why couldn't they separate some of the billions, for people on their last tiers because once you exhausted your money you have nothing, like at least 20 billion for people in my situation.

  • See the light

    no one is begrudging the newly unemployed PAGurl …They are simply asking to continue with the same help…look they have not created any new jobs.and Humans don't live on air…so it would make no sense not to include additional tiers….if not many people would be push to violence, robbing , to help their family to survive…all these cutbacks..many people who are left out will loose their dignity and frankly not give a rats who is who and what is what ..The government can help out other countries..well they need to put all their concerns in our country ..so we all can get back on our feet…Everyone will run to Welfare and that would still be the same …Mucho$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ it will still cost ..so they might as well keep the tiers going till they (government) can get it right!!!!

  • Life is Hard

    Look, I am on unemployment too so, I am not trying to be mean, but 99 weeks is a lot. The next phase is to work anywhere and apply for welfare to cut the slack. I know it is hard to find a job and our government should not be sending millions to other countries. However, in this country the winners got to play or the losers. I have work since I was 18 and I am now 28 and I know people that never works and have kids and continue to recieve free health care, HUD, Foodstamps………….just to name a few. So, trust me I am angry too. Too many illegals too.

  • Pat

    I agree with you Life is Hard, 99 weeks is a lot and I am very grateful for that, however I have tried to get a job at McDonalds, Hardees, Wendy's and every convenience store within a 25 mile radius. You know what I get told? Your overqualified, you wouldn't stay, hints at age and health have also been in there. So for you finding any job will be easier than for me. If this is the end of the road for me, so be it I will adjust and I do have my husbands Social Security Disability, most of which goes to cover his mounting medical bills because Medicare doesn't cover much. I don't like going on welfare programs because I am able to work but I may really have to redo my thinking.

  • 7NOONAN7


  • Pada

    The GOP could care less abuot the unemployed. They can give trillions to the rich without debate but need months of debate and excuses to deny help to the unemployed. The democrats are no better, just hiding behind and blaming the republicans. Vote for anybody except these two parties. We need to vote for someone who will take our money back from the rich. As long as the rich have all the money, we will only be offered slave wages or starvation. In local elections vote to fire all policeman, they protect the rich and will be after you when your homeless. Fire the whole government, they are our enemy. Take your last unemployment check and buy a gun, we have nothing left to lose.

  • Confused

    OK can someone please explain: when they said “they passed legislation” which extends benefits until Dec 31,2010; doesn't that mean excactly that–another extension? That's how it reads…Aren't the EUB's going to be extended? THANKS

  • carrienation555

    I am in the same boat, but violence is not the answer. please everyone, when it comes time to vote again, remember the republicans withholding benefits and the hard time they give to obama who only wants to ensure that the working guy has medical benefits for his wife and kids. vote democrat even if you hate who's running because you will not get squat from the republicans…we are all outraged. they withhold benefits, withhold your vote. that's the only power we have.

  • SadSarah

    You have no clue how it feels to not have a job and rely on the system. My husband and i both have been laid off for over a year, we both have college degrees, and great work ethics. We but out hundreds of resumes, and apply for anything that is out there, which where we are there is nothing. We are both scared to see what the future holds, if your hiring let us know!

  • Babysteps

    I as a guest have read all the comments and agree with a portion of what each has stated. My feelings will always be the same, we Americans tend to over extend ourselves to other countries. If you cannot help to take care of your fellow Americans how do you expect to take care of another country. I think there should be a tier 5 why not? The goverment gives money to bail big companies. I do not think or feel that giving someone extra help means greedy or lazy. I see that by not doing another tier is the same as saying, qoute “let them eat cake” unqoute.

  • brokergrl

    You should be ashamed for assuming that hundreds of unemployed Americans are taking advantage of the system. You should count your blessings before judging others.

  • mac

    the guy who wrote this article has a job,put his behind in the unemplyment line he,ll be talking a different tune.we need to put the entire congress in the unempolyment line they keep sending are jobs overseas to china,india,mexico,etc.

  • lulu99

    Paul, I would love to look into the computer screen and see your life for a minute. I bet i will find, a sloppy, angry, lonely, creepy man who has so much anger over the mistake's he has made to land him online sending insult's to those who worked year after year and wound up in this situation. It's easy to talk like this safely behind your computer. If you said this to my face, you would be swallowing your teeth right now. I bet your on welfare living in Mom and Dad's basement. those that talk like this are hiding something very embarassing. Poor bastard.

  • ct

    There should be an extension after tier 4 under certin conditions which would be you would have to report to a workforce everyday to sign in or you would have to be in school or enrolled in some type of training program