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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 271-300 of 344 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    Democrator 10/27/2009 4:07pm

    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.

  • Moderated Comment

  • Comm_reply
    shead 10/27/2009 2:15pm

    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!!!

  • Comm_reply
    iliveinct 10/27/2009 2:31pm

    Ignore Annoyamus (lol!) they are what we call a Troll. And the way to get rid of a Troll is to is to not respond it it. We call that "Don’t feed the Troll.

  • Comm_reply
    shead 10/27/2009 2:54pm

    Thanks for the advice on the troll. I just got so angry at the response the troll left. All the families that are really suffering just don’t need to read that kind of nonsense. We really need help to survive, besides if that person was like the rest of us the lack of food would solve his weight gain problem but most people like that live off the rest of us.

  • shead 10/27/2009 2:07pm

    I agree. They should have went on tonight with voting in the extensions. What’s on the agenda tomarrow? Is unemployment first, untill passed? Does anyone know? I can’t find an answer.If anyone has somewhere to check, please share that link with us.

  • padoma3 10/27/2009 2:08pm

    Hey Donny

    Is that it from you? Do you have any insight to what happens next or at least what’s likely to happen.

  • yankees2009 10/27/2009 2:12pm

    there is no verbage for retroactive. although i wish there was. me and 400,000 other americans wish this bill would be retro, alothough its not.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:15pm

    hey bassmaster, aint you the one that was so foul on the other site? some of the things you said were very bad!

  • billines 10/27/2009 2:15pm

    For those of you who want to call the 13 NOES and tell them why passing the Unemployment Extension is important to YOU… here they are:

    Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY] DC office: 202-224-6441
    Sen. Christopher Bond [R, MO] DC office: 202-224-5721
    Sen. Jim Bunning [R, KY] DC office: 202-224-4343
    Sen. Thomas Coburn [R, OK] DC office: 202-224-5754
    Sen. John Cornyn [R, TX] DC office: 202-224-2934
    Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] DC office: 202-224-6121
    Sen. Michael Enzi [R, WY] DC office: 202-224-3424
    Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC] DC office: 202-224-5972
    Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT] DC office: 202-224-5251
    Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK] DC office: 202-224-4721
    Sen. Jefferson Sessions [R, AL] DC office: 202-224-4124
    Sen. David Vitter [R, LA] DC office: 202-224-4623
    Sen. Roger Wicker [R, MS] DC office: 202-224-6253

    Start calling tomorrow morning to let them know how you feel about H.R. 3548 passing as soon as possible and what it means to you and your family.

  • Comm_reply
    networkgal 10/27/2009 2:25pm

    I like your style Billines! They’ve got to understand who they work for-US….

  • Comm_reply
    moreorless 10/27/2009 4:04pm

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

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:18pm

    It sickens me that this is still being debated. Just pass an extension for all of us. I am highly educated and cannot find any job. And yes I have applied to jobs I don’t want and for LOW pay. While the top bank executives eat well tonight, my family will not. I hope at least one of these Republicans toss and turn tonight. God please help those of us with little voices.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:30pm

    Was working up a migraine contemplating how these fools will stretch out 30 allotted hours — but it sounds like Judge doesn’t want HR3548 hanging around after tomorrow’s morning session. She’s also giving speakers only 10 mins each, not 1 hour to babble on. Can we say HALLELUJAH by tomorrow noon EST?? Regardless, I’ll never forget who voted how — NEVER.

  • kc3295 10/27/2009 2:35pm

    Well, all I can say is that there are two (2) senators from Georgia (Chambliss and Izakson) that are no longer on the top of my “list”. They are just on the list. Relax, get some rest and let’s see what happens tomorrow. If in fact the Izakson/Dodd amendment disappeared, maybe the others will also (Immigration/ACORN).

    At least something has happened…small answer to our prayers.

  • iliveinct 10/27/2009 2:36pm

    Good job people! Now they have to put it on the schedule and vote on it. Keep calling to have it approved!!! Step by step!!! Democracy is a participatory process. Ya gotta stay informed, register to vote, and know who you are voting for. When all that fails, we get a mess, then we have to clean it up.

    Keep your chins up and keep calling! Thank you all for all that you have done!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:56pm

    Think “unrelated amendments” can’t be considered for this round of voting. Ya know, with a little imagination they could have given us each 2 weeks of retro pay, just 2 little weeks, better than nothing at all. My phone/internet goes off Friday, can’t get new glasses (look for a job when you can’t see?), no right gift for my kid’s birthday, went to local food pantry for junk nobody wants (can’t afford the medical diet I’m supposed to have) — oddly, with Unemployment Insurance in NY State I’m “over the limit” on income guidelines for fresh food or health insurance. Stupidity on parade.

  • padoma3 10/27/2009 3:00pm


    vote the a33hoes out. my reps are online. get rid of yours..

  • padoma3 10/27/2009 3:01pm

    where’s donny? dud he have a date?

  • padoma3 10/27/2009 3:07pm

    ok votes over they’re gonna bring this to the floor gee thanks. do it. or maybe the banks need more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 3:21pm

    These jackasses don’t care they have a job a GOOD PAYING JOB WITH OUTSTANDING BENEFITS.The american people need to pull their jobs next election if they don’t vote for this bill or any future unemployment future bills. The economy is not going to get better for years.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 3:25pm

    This is just an example. Hillary and Bill if he is appointed to fill her Senate seat and either live to retire ‘they’ (together or alone) would get two US Presidential retirement checks, two US Senate retirement checks, and a retirement check from the State of Arkansas. About the only thing they MIGHT NOT get is a Social Security check. Bill has earned $40,000,000 in the past six years. Clinton, as a New York > State Senator, now comes under the Congressional Retirement and Staffing Plan, which means that even if she never gets reelected, she STILL receives her Congressional salary until she dies. If Bill outlives her, he then inherits HER salary until HE dies and vice versa. He is already getting his Presidential salary until he dies. In order for her to establish NY residency, they purchased a house in upscale Chappaqua, New York. They are entitled to Secret Service protection for life. House & Senate gets alot of this too.

  • Comm_reply
    Democrator 10/27/2009 4:03pm

    What in the hell does this have to do with anything here. So they live well too! Just like George Bush Jr and Sr. And thousands of others that have been elected into office. The problem here is we the people of the US who have also worked for benefits. We as the people like to shoot our mouths off! We the people should stop and think before we vote Republican, Democrat or any other party into office. We control our own destiny not the a33holes we put in office these days because we don’t think, investigate and hold people accountable for their actions. Next time an election comes around vote for the correct people and if you don’t vote don’t speak. And if you vote and don’t investigate who your voting for don’t complain. We the people of the United States of American should do more and speak less. __________________more V

  • Comm_reply
    Democrator 10/27/2009 4:04pm

    It’s our duty as Americans to allow the people that we put in office to do what is needed. And when they don’t let then know and HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE! That’s what they get paid for. And when they do a good job and they are given a promise of a set salary or pension then so be it they worked for it. If they didn’t work for it like George W. Then it should be withheld. Any One including you or I would love to have a great job and be well off like the Clinton’s. You can’t fault them or anyone else who does just that a GOOD JOB! I have been out of work for 27 months and out of benefits for 3 months now. I may have alot to say but I voted and in the NJ Gov race this week I’ll vote again even if I have to walk there. Because I am an AMERICAN and even if next month I live in a cardboard box in the woods with my wife, 4 children, 2 cats and my dog. I will still defend all that is good just like when I served my country in the US Army 25 years ago.

  • DagoChick 10/27/2009 3:30pm

    ok. so now the motion has been agreed to, whatever that means, what’s next? is it headed for the president’s desk? can i start expecting a claim form to fill out? i have 1 stamp left and i’m saving it for a claim form!

  • Comm_reply
    NorCalGurl 10/27/2009 4:40pm

    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.

  • Comm_reply
    leonaiz2 10/28/2009 4:23am

    NorCalGurl…I was thinking the same thing. Since none of the Republicans had anthing to say (smart) yesterday that this will all be resolved and on the President’s desk Friday. We DO appreciate it more than you will ever know.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 4:37am

    Are you saying that the fight is over? From what I understand there is still another debate and then a vote, how much longer can they stall? Do you really think the bill will be on the President’s desk by Friday? Hope like heck you’re right since my money is just about gone.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:23am

    So get a job at McDonnalds!

  • NikkiMarieO 10/27/2009 3:32pm

    How can we even search for work with no money for gas?? With no money to pay our car insurance or a babysitter?? Money for a haircut to look groomed for an interview??? You are hurting the economy by stalling and stalling!!! Get it done. Amendments you say… make an amendment that makes it retro since our last day of unemployment!!!

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