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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 331-344 of 344 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:40am

    There are alot of other states like that. The idea behind it is that you collect tips that compensate you for the 2.50/hour that you’re getting paid.

    I’m actually amazed that you would want to involve SEIU/ACORN in something like this. I guess corruption and lawlessness is okay with you?

  • Anonymous 10/28/2009 2:03pm

    I saw part of the discussion on cspan. I know this wont make those of you who are in need of money care, BUT the reason that the R’s are stalling on this is because the bill taxes businesses for the funds. The R’s want the money to come out of the unspent stimulus money and are being told they can’t have any changes to the bill whatsoever. It’s a pissing contest…

  • Anonymous 10/28/2009 3:46pm

    They have no idea about the thousands of people that are serioulsly hurting!!!!!!, they don’t have to worry about if their going to have a roof over their heads or food for thier children, we don’t want a hand out we need a life line to get us thru until we find work, sure we need jobs but right now there’s none so why not pass this bill to help us. I heard Kyl said today that the benefits have not ran out, their about to “You lie”!!!, if you were paying attention to what’s been happening, benefits for thousands have been exhausted almost a month for a lot of people and still running out everyday. They are so out of touch with what’s really going on, the only thing their thinking about is ACORN because they think somehow Obama is involved and they want so bad to have something on him, this is not a game, your playing with peoples lives. PASS THE DAMN BILL!!!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 2:02am

    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

  • Anonymous 10/29/2009 4:27am

    Look you rotten little parasites that keeps telling everyone to get off there butts and find a job, There are no jobs to go to and if you do get an interview you get turned down because you ARE OVERQUALIFIED!!! Yeah that’s right dummies OVERQUALIFIED!! To even clean toilets and if you do luck out and get an interview you get told the position has been filled!! THAT’S RIGHT DUMB ASS FILLED!! Because we are taking whatever we can get!! So go on you’re merry little way there buddies and keep you’re rotten thoughts to yourselfs!! One more thing, It was never in my husband’s and my plans to have to raise our little girl on food stamps unemployment and medicaid!! UNFORTUNATELY we like so many others have no choice at this point, AND YES we both had very good jobs until we had to move in DECEMBER 2007 because my husband lost his $20.00 an hr. job!SO Try listening instead of judging!! ROTTEN PARASITES!!!

  • 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.

  • Anonymous 10/29/2009 10:31am

    did the ting pass yet or will it pass this week???

  • Anonymous 10/29/2009 10:45am

    I have 1/3 a jar of tomato sauce, about 10 grams of salt, and 1/3 bag of flour.
    Thank God for some of those cooking classes I had earlier this year in California. Barely scraping by. I guess its tomato dumpling soup again tonight. Twice daily, thats all I eat. Oh, and my lease is up Novemebr 1st. Luckly, I can stay with my 75 y.o. Mother in Florida, and my retarded brother for two weeks. “Oh JOY!” Then what? Pass the danm Bill. I’ll never vote republican again in my life.

  • 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

  • Anonymous 10/29/2009 11:48am

    What just happened on the senate floor? Republicans wanted to add three admendments and told the democratic speaker to bring it to the floor and vote this afternoon.He said you have sixty votes,just vote them down if you don’t want them. The democrate just walks away. I don’t understand why the democrats don’t just vote this thru.

  • Anonymous 11/01/2009 10:01am

    I have never blogged before, but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!I raised 3 kids,one is serving in Afghanistan.I was down-sized from my $120K/year job in May 2008, I could not find anything even close to comparable because I did not have a degree.I returned to school to obtain my RN degree. In August 2009, my husband and I divorced after 20 years – now I find myself a single mom and full-time student with tons of bills. I do not qualify for any type of financial aid because of previous income. I have even tried donating plasma for tuition $, but they reduce my benefits. Similar to a lot of people out there, I am a hard-working, honest American who has paid into the system for almost 30 years. My benefits are going to run out in 3 weeks – all I am asking for is a wee-bit of assistance so I can finish school without losing my house or the ability to feed my son. I then plan on contributing back to the system for another 20+ years. PLEASE HELP THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO HELP THEMSELVES!

  • Anonymous 11/02/2009 11:59am

    So when will the new benefits start being paid out, mine ran out 3 weeks ago.

  • chancemoney28 11/09/2009 4:48pm

    Hi everybody.

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