Washington–The U.S. Senate finally passed legislation Tuesday night restoring eligibility for 30 days to a provision that allows laid-off people to receive unemployment insurance and COBRA health insurance benefits through December 31, 2010.
The Senate acted on the Temporary Extension Act of 2010, H.R. 4691, Tuesday night after Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ken., dropped his opposition to the bill.
However, the bill was not retroactive and only lasts until March 28. It passed 78-19 and could be signed by President Obama as early as today.
The bill did not contain a provision that would ease the burden on retirement benefit plans by delaying the need for employers to replenish plans which suffered large losses because of the decline in the value of debt and equity instruments over the last several years.
That is included in a longer-term bill introduced Monday by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate majority leader, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
That bill, the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act, could be passed by Congress later this week. The bill contains the retirement benefit provision.
But the bill passed Tuesday night does extend a special Medicare Advantage subsidy for special and rural needs plans.