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Senate Moves Ahead On COBRA Subsidy Extension (CLARIFIED)

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Senate leaders expect lawmakers to vote Wednesday on H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, which would extend the COBRA premium subsidy to April 30.

Members of the Senate voted 60-34 Monday to prevent opponents of the bill from using a filibuster, or endless round of debate, to keep the bill from coming up for a vote.

All Democrats and independents who voted on the cloture motion voted to invoke cloture.

Most Republicans voted against the cloture. The Republicans who sided with the Democrats on the vote were Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins of Maine, Olympia Snowe of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio.

In addition to extending the 65% government subsidy for eligible involuntarily terminated workers who choose to continue their employer-sponsored group health coverage, H.R. 4851 would extend the National Flood Insurance Program and other programs until the end of April.

Observers have noted that Brown, newly elected to the Senate to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., now has helped the Democrats by voting for two cloture motions.

“Families in Massachusetts and across the nation are hurting,” Brown says in a statement about his decision to vote for the H.R. 4851 cloture motion. “There is no reason why Republicans and Democrats can’t come together to provide a fiscally responsible way to extend unemployment benefits for families that need it…. In the coming days, I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to form a solution that provides our constituents with the relief they need now without adding to the debt that future generations will face later. I have pledged to do my best to change the tone in Washington, and my vote to continue the debate rather than obstruct it serves as a step in that direction.”



Coverage of the previous COBRA subsidy extension effort.