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Unemployment Extension Vote Live-Blog

October 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

With the jobless rate at 9.8 percent and rising, Senate Democrats have scheduled a big vote this afternoon to move forward with their bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits (H.R. 3548), which has been blocked by Republicans for the past month. I’ll be live-blogging the debate and the vote here and I invite you to help me out in comments section with capturing all the key quotes and information. The debate is scheduled to begin at around 5:30 pm ET with a vote taking place at 6:00, and it will be televised live on C-SPAN 2 (live online video here).

In the past month, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has repeatedly tried to speed up passage of the bill under a unanimous consent agreement. But Republicans objected each time and said that they were seeking changes related to the bill’s funding (and a few changes that are totally unrelated). More details on the process so far can be found on the OpenCongress Benefits Wiki.

Today’s vote is to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to an official debate of the bill. Invoking cloture requires 60 votes, and if it is approved the bill will move to the Senate floor for votes on amendments. Another cloture vote will likely be necessary to end the debate and bring the bill to a final up-or-down vote. The process will become clearer as the debate picks up, and I’ll be trying to keep track of it all here. Stay tuned!

4:30 p.m.: Reuters is reporting that bipartisan senators are very close to a deal for extending the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers. No specifics out on the deal yet, but apparently it may be voted on tonight as an amendment to the unemployment bill. If it’s added, it is going to slow down the House’s action on approving the Senate’s amended unemployment bill.

4:47 p.m.: Senators are filtering back into the chamber and starting to give floor speeches on the unemployment bill. Sen. Cardin (D-MD) is up with a map of his state explaining why the Senate is changing the House bill to apply the extension to every state. Maryland’s jobless rate is a little lower than the national average — it’s around 7% — but individual counties within the state have rate as high as 10.8%. Under the House bill, those counties would not have been given the extension while a county in another state with a lower rate but a statewide average above 8.5% would get the extension.

5:03 p.m.: Here’s a link to the roll call details on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the UI benefits extension that the Senate passed last November. The motion passed 89-6 back then when the jobless rate was at 6.7%.

5:15 p.m.: Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) is up for what is probably the last speech before the cloture debate begins: Approximately 150,000 people have run out of unemployment benefits since the Republicans began delaying this bill 3 weeks ago. “We have the power and the ability to act. Let’s do it!” “Republican response to helping the unemployed is ‘No!’”

5:30 p.m.: OK, the debate on the cloture motion on the motion to proceed is officially beginning and it’s time for opening statements. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) is up first. “Total cost for our bill $2.4 billion, payed for with an extension of the federal unemployment tax.”

5:40 p.m.: Via OpenCongress user JMatzelle57, breaking news:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) announced this afternoon, Tuesday October 27, that an extension of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit and more generous net operating loss carry-back rules for money-losing businesses will not be brought to the Senate floor for a vote. The unemployment insurance extension is still on the calendar and will be brought up as a stand-alone measure. HAI will provide updates as more information is released from Capitol Hill.

We’ll see if that’s accurate…

5:47 p.m.: Sen. Dorgan (D-ND) up: “Some of the people who are stalling the unemployment extension benefits were the same ones who rushed to the starting line last fall to see if they couldn’t hand hundreds of billions of dollars to the banks that ran this country into a ditch.”

5:50 p.m.: Really? No Republicans are going to speak on extending unemployment benefits? Vote’s in 10 minutes, it’s looking that way.

6:00 p.m.: The vote is underway …and it’s impossible to hear on C-Span how anyone is voting.

6:20 p.m.: Vote’s not quite over, but they’re well past 60 “ayes.” Here’s my running tally of the “noes” (13 so far):

Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY]
Sen. Christopher Bond [R, MO]
Sen. Jim Bunning [R, KY]
Sen. Thomas Coburn [R, OK]
Sen. John Cornyn [R, TX]
Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC]
Sen. Michael Enzi [R, WY]
Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC]
Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT]
Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK]
Sen. Mike Johanns [R, NE]
Sen. Jefferson Sessions [R, AL]
Sen. David Vitter [R, LA]
Sen. Roger Wicker [R, MS]

6:26 p.m.: And that does it. Final vote tally is 87-13. The motion to proceed is agreed to.

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Displaying 151-180 of 344 total comments.

  • Doingtherightthing 10/27/2009 12:56pm

    And Senator Dorgan was correct . Just what are the republicans thinking ? this has no good outcome for them now. Unless they vote it threw now. No benefit will they gain, other than making the unemployed hurt more.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 12:56pm
    Link Reply
    + -1


  • bcmky 10/27/2009 12:57pm

    Just called Reid’s office with those thoughts… Shove 60 done their throats!!

  • MrJonson 10/27/2009 12:58pm
    Link Reply
    + -2

    She should not have held it up, but beyond that the REPUBS have done most of the damage and delay; her original intent was probably just a simple expansion of the bill… but as she gains experience— keep your mouth shut, it gave the REPUBS an open door to point back at DEMS.

  • Comm_reply
    bcmky 10/27/2009 1:12pm

    This is America and I will call them as I see them. That is why I am an independent! So screw off, you think they didn’t know. I am not giving any of them a pass! Dem or Repub’s I do agree the the Republican’s are the culprits now!!!!!!

  • ohionoeb 10/27/2009 12:58pm

    You would think at least “1” Repub would talk about supporting HR 3548 ..Thats what I find so UNBELIVEABLE

  • padoma3 10/27/2009 12:59pm

    They all just stick together.

  • iliveinct 10/27/2009 12:59pm

    Good job live blogging Donny!

  • MrJonson 10/27/2009 1:00pm

    When no REPUBS speak, we are in for trouble because it means they pre-coordinated their tactics to defeat this Bill or stall it.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:00pm

    It is a shame that no repubs have stepped up to even offer an exuse, a kiss my ass or anything where is the integrity, I can accept the fact that they are full of shit but atleast they could do is own it.

  • yankees2009 10/27/2009 1:00pm

    why are the republicans doing this? they are doing this to satisfy rush and beck and all the other right wing wacko talking heads. they represent radio talks how hosts,not the people who elected them, not the people in need, and not the people in thier states whom they serve.

  • ajmerri99 10/27/2009 1:00pm

    It’s about freaking time that they start on this!!!!!

  • leo55262 10/27/2009 1:01pm

    It is said they can’t even stand up and say they are against it… COWARDS!

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 1:03pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    If the dems have the majority and have the votes screw gop Reid should ask for a vote on it rite after this vote!

  • Comm_reply
    yankees2009 10/27/2009 1:05pm

    he cant do that, as i understand the rules of the senate

  • Comm_reply
    iliveinct 10/27/2009 1:07pm

    The dems have the majority but some dems are really conservative. We call those blue dogs. I vote for Porgressive, Liberal Dems only!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:04pm

    Thank you, Senator Dorgan. Someone needed to say it.

  • leo55262 10/27/2009 1:04pm

    They sure don’t want us to hear what they are voteing! They know we are MAD!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:05pm

    Where do we go to see the votes? We can’t hear them.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 1:06pm

    Im sure it will be posted asap after the vote somewhere!

  • jelee 10/27/2009 1:06pm

    Just heard Kyl’s name called on his vote with a loud "NO’

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:07pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    It should post here:

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:08pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    In CA: Feinstein didn’t vote??? Did anyone hear Boxer’s vote?

  • Comm_reply
    Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 1:12pm

    Feinstein voted Aye

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:14pm

    Yes, caught that. Tx.

  • Comm_reply
    networkgal 10/27/2009 1:12pm

    They’ve always supported labor as I recall

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 1:09pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Darn she is saying who voted no i shoulda set my dvr to record this

  • Comm_reply
    leo55262 10/27/2009 1:09pm

    I did!

  • Comm_reply
    leo55262 10/27/2009 1:17pm
    Negative votes:( I missed one) Jim Dunning® KY

    Thomas Coburn® OK
    Mike Johanns® NE
    Roger Wicker® MS
    Sen Sessions
    to name the ones i heard

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:22pm

    Hatch and Inhof also ’no’s.

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