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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 1-30 of 344 total comments.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 10:23am

    what the hell am i supposed to do for money while these bureaucrats twiddle their thumbs? there are no jobs to be found. i’ve traveled across 4 different states looking for work only to be turned away. my kids have needs, my husband and i have needs and i’m sick of putting those needs on the back burner. i thought this was america! i don’t want to depend of unemployment, but it’s there because i worked for it if i needed. i need it so give it to me!!!! it’s mine!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 10:43am

    I am not affiliated with any political party, but after reading on various sites and looking at the official list of Republican amendmants that have nothing to do with “Unemployment benefits help to people who NEED IT”, I will never ever ever vote for any Republican again EVER. If you are a Republican, and need unemployment look at how your party is treating you, and remember that come election time.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:40am

    when is the actual vote? is it even on the calandar?

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    Anonymous 10/29/2009 11:46am

    My thoughts exactly. Like Senator Reid said the other day, he can count on 2 fingers the numbers of Republicans who are on board for unemployment, health care, etc. Obviously, this party is so scared that Obama is actually going to make a big difference, they are attempting to stonewall everything they can. Reid also said the same Republicans who are against the unemployment bill are the same people who were beating down the doors to vote to give TARP money to the banks/car makers. Just goes to show where their allegiance is – big business. They have no clue about the middle class. I’ll never vote for a Republican either. I hope they all are shooting themselves in the foot right now with their lack of cooperation.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 12:27pm

    its obvious that this economy hasnt hit them or their families like it has me mine…or they would have taken their fingers out of their asses and passed this!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 6:08pm

    Two from S.C. voted ‘naye ’ the very ones who SAID they supported another extension…they should all be ’ fired’ by WE who hired them come next election …and S.C. lawmakers already had to reconvene today just to get the extra benefits from the last extension…these politicians are selfish…help Wall Street but not taxpayers…just remember …as you sow, so shall ye reap….these politicians best be praying for a failed harvest because what they are sowing is getting themselves in need of unemployment benefits…

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 12:36pm


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    Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:29pm

    Let me get this straight….this really is only the vote to strip this down to just the unemployment issue….and we still have to wait for another yea/nay on the ‘extension’ itself??

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 1:32pm

    thank you. now what futher steps do we have to go through in oder to get our money..

  • Moderated Comment

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    Anonymous 10/28/2009 7:41am

    I guess your working! I have been off for over a year and I can’t get a job a McDonald or Burger King. I was a quality manager for 16 years with the automotive sector and can’t even find a part time job for minimum wage. I have lowered my standard but it hasn’t helped. so that that!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 5:52pm

    I think that the person that said Get up off your butt and find a job….IS SO RUDE…..I have not been employed for almost 2 years now, it sucks and believe me I have been trying to find a job daily…..I THINK THAT YOU SHOULD COME DOWN OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE AND HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF CONSIDERATION FOR OTHERS.

  • Comm_reply
    angelkiss 10/28/2009 7:31pm

    Here’s a crazier thought, a-hole. My job was sent overseas & now I’m a full time student trying to support myself. The government should support me as I learn a new trade or stop giving our jobs to India. I have a job & am going to school full time for ultrasound and can’t pay my bills w/out collecting partial UE. I need this extension since working for minimum wage pays only a portion of my bills. I hope you lose your job someday and find out how it feels.

  • Comm_reply
    guywaters 10/28/2009 12:42pm

    Our Money is correct. These senators are worse than the old Roman Senate wearing there white robes. It is known that for every dollar given out in UI 1.67 is returned to the economy. I like Reid and hate Hatch. I guess he has too many wives to feed.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 2:04am


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    rseymour4 10/28/2009 4:11pm

    That is a terrible thing to say. I wish i had a job to go to i loved my job. job. I would’t wish this on anyone not even you. God Bless You

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 3:05am

    i hope you live a thousnad years and all your desires come true

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:03am

    Oh, btw, there are always jobs to be found… just because the job isnt ideal, doesnt meant it isnt a job. Try lowering your standards. You can always continue the job search while in the less than ideal job.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 4:07pm

    I was on my job for 15years US Customs broker
    Well I lower my standards and guess what? I haven’t worked a full week at my NEW job yet. I get laid off every 3days But when they call me back I’m the first one there. I’m continue my job search but nothing found yet. You must have a job that’s why you don’t understand. You must walk the walk to understand the talk. You must be from the Republican Party. I pray you don’t feel this pain my family is feeling have a bless life.
    People need help

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 4:56am
    1. I am not from the republican party
    2. I garuntee I’ve been in a worse situation than you. The difference is I bucked up and got a job that was less than ideal… know what it was? I cleaned toilets at the local high school. Even then, I was making around $400/month
    3. Yes I do have a job, BUT I was unemployed as of two months ago. With that said, I knew full and well that I might have to pick up a job at the local fastfood joint in order to support the family. Possibly pick up two jobs.
    4. I honestly feel for your situation, HOWEVER, can you honestly say that you started looking at jobs like that? A job is a job mate.
  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 12:34pm

    What ….you do not have any idea what you are talking about…I have worked all my life….babysat when I was 14 years old…if you know where all the jobs are…tell us list them!!! You must have nothing in your life…I have a mortgage…I need to pay that know where job is that will pay my mortgage??? Give me the name and number I will go to work today…you need to keep your stupid talk to yourself!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 11:28am

    No kidding! I’ve been flicking back and forth to CSPAN and all the R’s do is try to put additional crap in the bill. I’m gonna need health care when I can’t afford food or become homeless and REALLY get sick! PASS THE DAMN EXTENSION!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 3:03am

    a november thanksgiving with no home,meal or warmth..

  • Comm_reply
    tnf483 10/29/2009 4:31am

    REALLY! I am struggling as so many others are also. I am SICK AND TIRED of Republicans!! I always vote Democrat. Republicans seem to be cold-hearted, money hungry, ignorant, and self-centered! I am fortunate, I guess you can call it that, enough to live in my parents’ basement and live off what they provide for me until I collect again or EVEN BETTER, GET A JOB! I am an educated person, and always worked hard for my money. I can’t even get a lousy job at a local Taco Bell because I am AMERICAN!!! WTF! LET’S GO! PASS THE BILL ALREADY! I feel sorry for the many people who can’t afford a decent Thanksgiving dinner – Republicans will be enjoying their GOURMET Thanksgiving dinners for sure without a care for the less fortunate!! Come on! Show some compassion and pass the bill!!!!!!!

  • Jans1116 10/27/2009 10:23am

    Thanks again Donny and Open Congress!

  • Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 10:25am

    Yeah Enuf is enuf they need to quit the stall tactics and give help to all of us that are in dire needs. I will reiterate Jans1116 post by saying Thanks to O/C and Donny.

  • Comm_reply
    shaunreekstin 10/27/2009 11:09am

    bassmaster I am actually listening to bass creator right now by basshunter do you know who they are?

  • Comm_reply
    Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 11:24am

    No srry dont have a clue.My nick refers to fishing not the thump :-)

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:10am

    First of all, I support the extension of unemployment comp. HOWEVER, this is not going to fix the unemployment problem. How many of you people have actually tried working at Arby’s or Denny’s in the interim so that you have SOME income.

    I recently faced the realities of unemployment. I accepted the fact in order to support my family, I NEEDED to find a job. If that job was delivering Pizza or waiting tables or cleaning toilets, I knew that is what I needed to do to support my family! The problem with all you people is that you’re too snobbish to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done. It’s pathetic.

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    Anonymous 10/28/2009 7:40am

    your Pathetic! Every job I have applied and continue to apply for says “your over qualified”. When everyone is unemployed, they want the people who have experience in delivering pizza or waiting tables or fast food … Don’t you think people are trying to find anything they can at this point. Do you really think they are just sitting around while their children starve? Aren’t you a little full of yourself! You must be a Republican!

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