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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 91-120 of 344 total comments.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:06pm

    Both partys are corrupt to the core! Look at what Obama is doing with Afganistan, nothing! 16 of our troops killed yesterday and 8 more today. October has been the deadliest month for this war…their blood is on Obama’s hands! I can’t believe he has to think longer about sending in more troops. He is a muslum lover, just sent millions to the muslums for their technology, good move, give them more and better information systems so we can have another 9/11 or worse!

  • Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 12:06pm

    OK Kyl enuf of this its UB debate time douchbag

  • goingbroke 10/27/2009 12:06pm

    Someone throw the shoe already…..

  • Comm_reply
    Beaubien 10/27/2009 12:07pm

    Kork it Kyl !

  • Doingtherightthing 10/27/2009 12:08pm

    Thank you Sen.Kyl we will be sure to remember your request ,right after you get voted out.

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 12:09pm

    Register independent (i already did) and vote for “Fresh Faces” every election, let’s impose our own term limits, which is really the long term fix for the American People. To much time equals to much power.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:12pm

    Harry Reid is on now!!!

  • Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 12:12pm

    Come on Harry give em hell like Dick did

  • ajmerri99 10/27/2009 12:12pm

    Just an FYI to all out there. Harry Reid, our unsung hero in pushing this bill, is speaking about the bill and calling for a vote.

  • dlh 10/27/2009 12:16pm

    I’m glad they are finally addressing this… BUT Senator Reid and the rest of this gang of 100, this should have been done WEEKS ago! People starting losing benefits weeks ago, some months ago!

  • ajmerri99 10/27/2009 12:17pm

    I also can’t help but think what a jerk Jon Kyl is. Everyone is talking about this bill and he wants to talk about Afganistan??!! While we can’t afford to put food on our tables? I ran out of unemployment and am a diabetic, I can’t afford the medication I need to take on a daily basis to get by, I don’t have the money for health insurance so going to the ER isn’t an option, my savings ran out 2 months ago, they want to take my house and seems like the GOP doesn’t care. Well I’m going to make sure that they care the next election, as a registered Republican I am going to campaign against them. Let’s start over!!!

  • networkgal 10/27/2009 12:18pm

    Kyl is the one who forced the CBO report a month ago to stall this

  • ajmerri99 10/27/2009 12:22pm

    If this passes today, what happens from here? Does it go to the President or back to the house? Is it possible that we could start seeing checks again before Thanksgiving?

  • Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 12:25pm

    More stall tactics ugggg

  • yankees2009 10/27/2009 12:27pm

    wow. all you hear from the republicans is…….. crickets. how will they respond is this debate to come. will anyone of them say they are against this bill? i doubt it, they will just rail on about acorn to make rush and co. happy.

  • iliveinct 10/27/2009 12:28pm

    watching brownback R-Kansas finally upset about mass gang rape in Darfur. he finally noticed. Hey brownback, I see right through you, you moron!

  • billines 10/27/2009 12:28pm

    Majority Leader Reid needs to motion for cloture on the bill itself as soon as they vote to proceed to H.R. 3548. We can’t afford to wait for an “agreement” that NEVER comes. This would ensure a vote on a “clean” bill, with only amendments related to the bill, that would easily pass through both houses.

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 12:28pm

    kyl also got the largest staff and office budget increase in the Senate. Several weeks earlier no CBO score?

  • leo55262 10/27/2009 12:30pm

    Ok let get on with it! It is 5:30…..

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 12:30pm

    What about us Brownback call him now

    Brownback, Sam – (R – KS) Class III
    (202) 224-6521
    Web Form:

  • Comm_reply
    iliveinct 10/27/2009 12:41pm

    Boy did I just call and give brownbeck a piece of my mind!!! (I think my husband is scared, proud, but scared!!!) Yay!!! GO TEAM!!!

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:31pm

    screw kyl i have a Bucket of tar here and a bunch of feathers!

  • Doingtherightthing 10/27/2009 12:31pm

    To quote BCMKY
    “The question is do the GOP want to help the American People or use us as political pawns….They are waking up a sleeping giant…. The American People..” I agree and feel they should have more respect for the American worker. They better understand, we are the voice and we don’t turn our back on each other, we are the people that helped build this country, be careful who you step on..

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:32pm

    Baucis is speaking, tell it allllll!

  • Comm_reply
    dlh 10/27/2009 12:35pm

    Sorry I have no respect for this guy.. Sure it’s important to him NOW! All the while Baucus let people do without for weeks because he HAD to finish healthcare! We really need this, but I’m DONE with THIS government!! BOTH PARTIES!!

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 12:34pm

    I just called Brownback’s office and told them to worry about the American Worker FIRST then the rest of the world… Burn the phones up…

  • dlh 10/27/2009 12:37pm

    I like Shaheen, she was the one who stood up for ALL STATES!

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:37pm

    sheehan is on the one that held it up from the beginning i just wanna slap her!

  • Comm_reply
    dlh 10/27/2009 12:38pm

    I know she held this up, but her point is correct. Shouldn’t matter what percentage a state is at, EVERY unemployed person is hurting and they ALL should be helped.

  • Comm_reply
    NYER566 10/27/2009 12:41pm

    Well she didnt have to wait so damn long to start her crap! She should have done it a long time ago!

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