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By now it's a familiar story. Senate Democrats call for a unanimous consent agreement on passing legislation to extend unemployment insurance benefits and a single Republican stand up and objects, blocking the bill from passing on behalf of the entire party. It happened on Tuesday and it happened gains yesterday, this time with Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY] doing the GOP's dirty work.

On one level this is the same as ever. Republicans want any unemployment extension to be paid for by rescinding funds from the stimulus and Democrats want to fund the extension with deficit spending in order to get the maximum stimulus effect. What was especially troubling about today's Senate floor action is that it gave us more evidence that, in the midst of an unemployment crisis, some members of Congress may be confused on the basics of federal benefits extensions.

Arthur Delaney at Huffington Post reports:

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First Up for the Lame Duck? Repaying Politcal Favors

November 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

When I posted a link on Twitter on Facebook yesterday to the first bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate lame duck session -- the Promoting Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Act of 2010 -- people asked a good question: why, given the time restraints and all the important issues that need to be dealt with, is this bill getting the first vote? One possible answer is that the vote is part of a straight-up quid pro quo:

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