Posts About Congress 

Republicans Continue to Hold Up Unemployment Extension in Senate

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 in Labor and Employment, Legislative Action

In a vote Thursday night, Senate Democrats were unable to overcome the Republic filibuster of the bill that contains the much-needed extension of unemployment benefits.  Even though the cost of the bill had been reduced to alleviate the (misguided) concerns of increasing the federal deficit, all Republicans and two Democrats maintained their opposition.  This bill would not only extend emergency unemployment benefits, but also provide aid to states for health care costs, and pay for that spending with increased taxes on oil companies and hedge fund managers.  Hard to argue with those...

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Op-Ed Calling for Paid Maternity and Family Leave

Posted on Jun 14, 2010 in Labor and Employment, Legislative Action

An op-ed in the Washington Post calls for paid family and maternity leave because the 12 weeks of unpaid leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is grossly inadequate.  Sharon Lerner traces the history of legislative efforts to provide paid leave to support workers’ families, the compromised law that is the FMLA, and the pernicious effects of inadequate paid leave.  The need for reform is stark: When it comes to paid maternity leave, the United States is in the postpartum dark ages.  One hundred and seventy-seven nations — including Djibouti, Haiti and...

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House Passes Unemployment Extension Without Cobra Benefits; Senate Yet to Act

Posted on Jun 5, 2010 in Labor and Employment, Legislative Action

On May 28, 2010, the House passed a watered-down jobs bill. It extends the extra unemployment benefits program for another six months, though those benefits have now expired as of the end of May. Very significantly, the House bill did not include an extension of the expanded COBRA program for health insurance. The Senate has yet to act.  Because the unemployment benefits have expired, unemployed workers are losing benefits right now, and will cotninue to until the Senate passes a matching bill.  The N&O has this article on effects to workers in North Carolina.  It is imperitive that...

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Republicans Block Unemployment Benefits Again

Posted on Mar 29, 2010 in Labor and Employment, Legislative Action

Senate Republicans have once again blocked a much-needed extension of unemployment benefits, ignoring the needs of millions of workers that rely on those benefits.  This time, it is Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn who has single-handedly denied workers benefits.  From the New York Times: “As a result, some people who have been out of work for more than six months will at least temporarily lose benefits. Health insurance subsidies for the jobless will also expire.”

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President Signs Landmark Health Care Reform

Posted on Mar 25, 2010 in Labor and Employment, Legislative Action

On March 23, after the House and the Senate were finally able to resolve their differences, President Obama signed into law the landmark health care bill that promises to mark affordable health care a reality for all Americans.  Extensive coverage of the act can be found elsewhere, but this is a good summary of how it effects workers and individuals. Update: Congress has also passed a set of amendments to the act, completing the legislative saga.  The changes increase the levels of subsidies that will help moderate-income Americans afford private insurance, alter some of the taxes that help...

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