This is how it looked to be going all along, but the Senate made it official earlier today.
Moments ago, the Senate adjourned for a two-week-long spring recess. The last act of business was to schedule a cloture vote on a House-passed measure to extend COBRA and the filing deadline for unemployment benefits through April 30. The vote is slated for Monday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Under current law, the deadline to file for additional unemployment insurance benefits arrives April 5. Without congressional action, an estimated 1 million jobless folks would lose their UI benefits in April.
The Majority Leader’s office says they will offer retroactive benefits to those who miss a payment. And that’s fine. But let’s be clear: this is a massively inefficient way to do business. Letting things like unemployment benefits expire means that the state offices must contact every individual in that category, tell them they’re done, only to have to tell them again when the benefits get restored, leading to mass confusion and uncertainty, as well as actual expenses for those states. Who picks up the bill for that?
And why should there be such a cost at all? Considering the Senate could have started the cloture process on Tuesday and wrapped the extension up by as early as Saturday, it seems that not keeping members in town for a couple extra days trumped the needs of one million struggling families, or at least a lot of needless bureaucratic backtracking.