Senate passes extension of unemployment benefits

Federal and state unemployment insurance funds have run dry as the jobless rate has climbed to 9.7 percent. 


The Senate rejected today two Coburn amendments to offset the bill's cost. 

The Senate approved an nonbinding, sense of the Senate amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 85-13, that says the Senate opposes any plan to implement a value-added consumption tax. 

Coburn narrowly lost his bid to pay for the bill -- losing the first amendment 50-48. That amendment would have used about $9 billion from the closing of tax loopholes and rescinded up to $20 billion of previously appropriated unobligated funds to pay for the bill, saving about $10 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. 

The second amendment, defeated 53-45, used the $9 billion and raised the remainder from low-priority spending. 

"If Congress continues to pass extensions every 60 days, costing taxpayers $18 billion, by December we will have added another $81 billion to the deficit," Coburn said. "And still have failed to truly address the long-term problem of how to pay for providing reasonable benefits to those who need our help."