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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 121-150 of 344 total comments.

Anonymous 10/29/2009 2:02am
in reply to Anonymous Oct 28, 2009 3:46pm

obama is employed with acorn..duh..he was legal counsel to it…as for the passage of the bill…the congress is a total disgrace…both sides

tx2step 10/27/2009 1:40pm

Taylor and or Nancy – where are you?

NYER566 10/27/2009 12:02pm

Just don’t forget to register independent send these asswipes a huge message, we do not want to be associated with either party! Independent is the way to go! They will freak out if no one is registered Democrat or Republican, what better way to get back at all these bozos!

Doingtherightthing 10/27/2009 12:03pm
in reply to bcmky Oct 27, 2009 11:53am

Maybe he has a interest in the water supply to the tent citys. Trying to make a buck off the unemployed.

Beaubien 10/27/2009 12:07pm
in reply to goingbroke Oct 27, 2009 12:06pm

Kork it Kyl !

NYER566 10/27/2009 12:07pm
in reply to bcmky Oct 27, 2009 11:58am

Don’t get me started on Health Care, pelosi changes its name every other day! The don’t even want to post the bill online so people can read it. The dems are secretly meeting without any GOP input on purpose. NO Obamacare!!!!

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!!

Anonymous 10/29/2009 11:47am

do u live in a big city or small city jaydubya ? i live in a small town and what jobs r here r already gone so it depends where u live to where the jobs r think about it

NYER566 10/27/2009 1:06pm

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

jelee 10/27/2009 1:38pm
in reply to Anonymous Oct 27, 2009 1:19pm

I heard the name Kyl earlier and he said it loud enough it was "NO
and the second time around I heard Kyl again and he said YES
is there TWO Kyls????

moreorless 10/27/2009 4:04pm
in reply to billines Oct 27, 2009 2:15pm

Hi, thanks much for the list. I have copied it while I’m in a Business course. But this is more important.

jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:24am

To all you I’ve offended, I apologize. I understand that some of you are hurting. I’m sorry.

I did get my facts wrong, I sincerely apologize for that.

With all of that said, the bill is STILL unfair and unbalanced. Please let me explain why.

The unemployment problems do not only extend to states with unemployment rates of over 8.5%. There are people out there in states with unemployment rates that are lower than 8.5% who are having just as hard of a time as those who are in states with unemployment rates of over 8.5%. How right is it for Congress to say that You, the software developer, in Maine(8.5%) gets 20 weeks but if John Doe, another software dev, in Conneticut (8.4%), tough luck, you only get 14 weeks. The point is, that people are having a hard time finding a job no matter what the unemployment rates are in the country. The extension needs to be equal for all. Period.

jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:32am
in reply to Anonymous Oct 29, 2009 2:10am

It was a Republican President who pushed the first Stimulus Package mate.

Jans1116 10/27/2009 1:21pm

Right, as usual only a handful caused a mess.

jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:13am
in reply to Anonymous Oct 28, 2009 6:28am

yeah, you’re right I was wrong. I apologize. HOWEVER, extension of unemployment benefits needs to be equal. Period.

Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:04pm

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

Democrator 10/27/2009 4:07pm
in reply to DagoChick Oct 27, 2009 2:06pm

God bless you! I hope somehow you get back what has been taken! I am in the same boat and do know how it feels.

NorCalGurl 10/27/2009 4:40pm
in reply to DagoChick Oct 27, 2009 3:30pm

DagoChick, what is next is that the bill has been scheduled to go to the Senate for debate and voting on.

It now is on the Senate calendar for tomorrow morning to be debated and voted on. It could be as short as one day or as long a a few weeks until this thing passes, but I am hopeful that this whole thing will be wrapped up and on the President’s desk by the end of next week.

jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:34am
in reply to Anonymous Oct 28, 2009 9:17am

It wasnt intended to be a put down. It was intended to point out that people shouldnt be standing around waiting for a hand out from a group of politicians who really could care less about you but rather care more about keeping their power.

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.

Anonymous 10/28/2009 7:55am
in reply to jaydubya Oct 28, 2009 5:37am

you sure kow how to run your mouth, why don’t you try getting the facts right first! the bill has already been amended to include all states, those with rates below 8.5% will get benefits also! so get it right or shut the heck up!

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.

Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:37pm

what do you mean when you say it isnt retro??

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!!!!!

Anonymous 10/29/2009 1:23am
in reply to jaydubya Oct 28, 2009 5:19am

You are really ridiculous. I am 61 years old and worked my whole life never asked for anything and now I need some help. If the government would stop giving money to worthless banks and auto companies that have lived high of the hog for all these years and continue to do so with our tax money we would not be in this problem to begin with. Even with the government money they are still taking huge bonuses and we can’t do a thing about it. You really should get your facts right before spouting off with your nonsense.

Anonymous 10/29/2009 2:06am
in reply to networkgal Oct 28, 2009 10:58am


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