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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 61-90 of 344 total comments.

shead 10/27/2009 2:15pm
in reply to Anonymous Oct 27, 2009 2:07pm

I think your reply is very childish and color is not the issue. It’s people like you, that is the hold up. You disgrace all of us that are in need of these bennefits to live and provide for our families. You talk about rediculous ways to spend these bennefits on getting high!!!! How stupid!!! You need to stay off this and all sites that are for the people that really need help. We are very tired of people like you!!!

shead 10/27/2009 3:09pm
in reply to padoma3 Oct 27, 2009 12:42pm

I’m with you on that one. I lost my bennefits the 2nd. week in July.

Anonymous 10/27/2009 11:59am
in reply to networkgal Oct 27, 2009 11:43am

You can watch Cspan if you have Internet with Cable.

Anonymous 10/27/2009 6:06pm

Does it ends here? when EXACTLY will we see our first extended unemployment check?

NYER566 10/27/2009 11:46am

This Senator from Maryland is good, he is sticking it to them good!

Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 1:17pm

woot got the 60

iliveinct 10/27/2009 1:16pm

Make them! YES!!!

Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:43pm

I think they’re runnin out their clock, done at 7 tonight? Go fig! Why not screw the taxpayers a bit more by skating out early.

ajmerri99 10/27/2009 12:22pm

If this passes today, what happens from here? Does it go to the President or back to the house? Is it possible that we could start seeing checks again before Thanksgiving?

Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:14pm
in reply to Bassmaster2009 Oct 27, 2009 1:12pm

Yes, caught that. Tx.

dlh 10/27/2009 12:16pm

I’m glad they are finally addressing this… BUT Senator Reid and the rest of this gang of 100, this should have been done WEEKS ago! People starting losing benefits weeks ago, some months ago!

Moderated Comment

Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:19pm

if thats 60 then what happens now?? anyone know???

bcmky 10/27/2009 12:28pm

kyl also got the largest staff and office budget increase in the Senate. Several weeks earlier no CBO score?

jelee 10/27/2009 12:51pm
in reply to jelee Oct 27, 2009 12:46pm

I can’t believe the Republicans, have nothing to offer in response of why they have Stalled this Bill ? what about the excuse of how much it would cost?
or taking it from stimulus Money ? I think they owe the American people some kind of explaination, they have had them for the last four weeks, where is their retro now ?

NYER566 10/27/2009 12:49pm

I for one am not shocked, they know they are idiots!

yankees2009 10/27/2009 12:27pm

wow. all you hear from the republicans is…….. crickets. how will they respond is this debate to come. will anyone of them say they are against this bill? i doubt it, they will just rail on about acorn to make rush and co. happy.

bcmky 10/27/2009 12:34pm

I just called Brownback’s office and told them to worry about the American Worker FIRST then the rest of the world… Burn the phones up…

iliveinct 10/27/2009 12:28pm

watching brownback R-Kansas finally upset about mass gang rape in Darfur. he finally noticed. Hey brownback, I see right through you, you moron!

Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:22pm
in reply to leo55262 Oct 27, 2009 1:17pm

Hatch and Inhof also ’no’s.

Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:22pm


dondk 10/27/2009 12:49pm

as previously mentioned on the S.1699 board, there was little chance the republicans would DEBATE motion to proceed for Cloture. What is there to debate?

This is the Dem’s day to posture and they are doing it well.

padoma3 10/27/2009 10:30am

Donny. I look forward to your take on what goes on.

NYER566 10/27/2009 12:50pm

Tell em Dorgan!

mommyjaynj 10/27/2009 10:37am

hi donny im in, keeping my fingers crossed ive been out of benefits since sept.

Jans1116 10/27/2009 10:23am

Thanks again Donny and Open Congress!

tx2step 10/27/2009 10:32am

Thanks to Donny and Open Congress for the past TWO YEARS and numerous UE bills -whew!
See you @ 5:15PM.

Anonymous 10/27/2009 10:34am

Thanks, Donny and Avelino and OpenCongress. there is strength in numbers nows the time to rally that point home, I’ll be here at 5:30pm

iliveinct 10/27/2009 1:05pm
in reply to NYER566 Oct 27, 2009 12:55pm

They are arrogant and hope you are not paying attention and that you will forget or not show up on voting day.

iliveinct 10/27/2009 11:04am

Thank you!!! Very cool! Let’s keep the pressure on them!!

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