Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Arizona's Senator Obstruction, Jon Kyl, tied up the unemployment benefits extension bill in the U.S. Senate for weeks based upon petty partisanship and parliamentary maneuvering.
The bill bogged down in the Senate, first when senators from states with lower jobless rates demanded that the extension apply to all people exhausting their benefits, then with negotiations over adding the homebuyer and business tax credits. Then, Republicans held up floor action when Democrats blocked them from offering amendments on matters unrelated to the base bill.
"Opponents have put up obstacles at every turn to delay the passage of this bill, and as a result of these delaying tactics approximately 200,000 workers have lost their benefits in this last month," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., a chief proponent of the more expansive benefit extension.
Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project said it was "shameful" that the Senate procrastinated while an estimated 1.3 million face a loss of benefits by the end of the year. "We are in the middle of a national catastrophe as far as unemployment is concerned," she said. "This bill would provide a lifeline for those who are desperate, who are unemployed for no fault of their own."
Senator Obstruction finally relented on Thursday, and the bill was unanimously approved by the Senate 98-0. Senate acts to extend aid for jobless, homebuyers
With enactment, the jobless in the hardest-hit states could receive up to 99 weeks of benefits, which average about $300 a week. That would well exceed the previous record of 65 weeks during the 1970s.
The $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, enacted as part of the stimulus package last February and set to expire this month, would be extended and expanded to include a $6,500 credit for people who have lived in their current residences at least five years.
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The legislation would extend the $8,000 tax credit through June of next year as long as the buyer enters into a binding contract before April 30. It doubles the income ceiling for qualification to $125,000 for individuals. The credit is available for homes purchased at under $800,000.
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The third leg of the bill extends to all businesses that have incurred losses in 2008 and 2009 to seek refunds for taxes paid on profits over the past five years.
The two tax credits, each costing more than $10 billion over 10 years, are paid for by delaying enactment of a law giving international companies more leeway in how they allocate interest expenses between U.S. and foreign sources in determining tax liabilities.
The House moved quickly to approve the bill and voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill on a vote of 403-12. House votes to extend jobless benefits, expand home buyers' tax credit President Obama will sign the bill.
Three of those 12 "no" votes were Arizona GOP congressmen John Shadegg, Trent Franks and Jeff Flake. The three stooges continue to embarrass and dishonor the citizens of Arizona. It is past time to put them on the unemployment line.