Why should all 99ers across the country be concerned with what happens in the Senate races in Delaware, West Virginia, and Illinois in the midterm elections on November 2’ND? These three states have the ability to change the make-up of the Senate in the lame duck session following the midterms as the winning candidate from each of these states will be seated immediately after the election and not have to wait to take their seat until January. Recent polls indicate two of these three races being hotly contested in West Virginia and Illinois. Current senate filibuster rules make 60 votes the new 51 for getting a bill voted on without debate on the Senate floor. Any one of these three senate seats changing to Republican hands will make it significantly harder for an unfunded Tier V bill to pass cloture in the Senate after the midterms.
As it stands today, there are only two Tier V bills that have been introduced in Congress; the Berkley Bill in the House, and the Americans Want to Work Act in the Senate. Both are bills that have been introduced by Democrats and they are both unfunded bills requiring acceptance of emergency spending allocations for passage. Republicans have stated that they WILL NOT vote for any unfunded Tier V unemployment extensions. Therefore every vote will remain critical to pass a Tier V if the democrats continue to present bills that are not fully funded, or at least partially funded. With Congress being in recess for midterm election campaigning, talk of passing further unemployment extensions or a Tier V have been strangely virtually nonexistent!
Congress has left a significant number of key pieces of legislation on the table going into the midterm elections. Much needs to be done in a very short period of time between the midterms and the end of the year. In addition to having to address critical extensions of benefits for the unemployed (authorization for Tiers 1-4 & EB) that expire at the end of November and the possible addition of a Tier V, legislation to fund government operations that is expiring in early December must also be addressed. And lets not forget that the tax cuts are also due to run out at the end of the year if Congress takes no action to restore them. Congress has a lot to do in a very short period of time that will be further hampered by a scheduled Thanksgiving week break!
99ers and the long term unemployed should watch the Senate races in Delaware, West Virginia, and Illinois carefully. Those that believe that the only chance of getting a Tier V extension passed by Congress is with a filibuster proof Senate will deem these three elections as very noteworthy to the cause. For 99ers, all eyes will be on these three states come Election Day.