July 13, 2010

Of course, the rank hypocrites in the Republican party are lining up to try to force retention of the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts in exchange for support on extending unemployment benefits. (And the deficit worries suddenly fly out the window, just like that.)

In other words, it will be at least another week before we see a vote:

Senate Democrats will remain one vote short of the 60 needed to reauthorize unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless at least until the end of the week, as West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin says he wants to wait until the state legislature has cleared up the law on how to fill the Senate seat left behind by the late Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

Manchin previously said that he could name a replacement as soon as the beginning of the week, but on Monday his office told HuffPost he'd make his announcement by Sunday at the latest and Friday at the earliest.

"He intends to make the appointment by week's end," a spokesman said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly said that Senate Democrats need Byrd's replacement to break the filibuster by Republicans and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, whose approval -- had he decided to give it -- would have ended the endless debate that has already cut off unemployment checks to some 2.1 million people.

By the time Byrd's replacement is sworn in, more than 2.5 million people who've been out of work for longer than six months will have missed checks they would have received had Congress reauthorized the stimulus programs it allowed to lapse at the end of May. President Obama's 2009 stimulus bill and subsequent legislation gave the unemployed up to 99 weeks of benefits in some states. With the federally-funded extended benefits lapsed, in most states the unemployed are eligible for only 26 weeks of state-funded benefits.

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