Friday, May 28, 2010

Blue Dogs Cut House Extender Package – Senate Delays Action

With authorization for longer unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies expiring after Memorial Day, the House passed a cut back version of the extender legislation this week, but the Senate adjourned without taking any action, once leaving out of work Americans whose benefits expire in limbo until Congress reconvenes June 7. Fiscally conservative House “Blue Dog” Democrats cut $33 billion from the proposed legislation before it passed, and separated out $23 billion in Medicare doctor reimbursement extensions for consideration apart from unemployment benefits. Both House measures now extend doctor pay and unemployment compensation only through November 2010 rather than through June 2011 as originally proposed.

As passed by the House, the bills will still increase the federal budget deficit by $50 billion, and the Senate threatens to reinstate the June 2011 cutoff date when it reconvenes June 7. The House measure also includes $6 billion for federal bond issues to support local and state infrastructure construction projects.

Of course, all these Senators and Congressmen are getting their regular paychecks while they keep out of work Americans waiting two or three more weeks for their next benefit payments.
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