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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 61-90 of 344 total comments.

  • Avelino_Maestas 10/27/2009 11:23am

    Since we’re still waiting, I though I would post this link from ProPublica:

    They do great stuff over there, give it a read.

  • tee 10/27/2009 11:25am

    They put a 2 year stop on foreclosure’s back then too, now all the offer is to redo ur morgage.

  • Comm_reply
    shead 10/27/2009 3:03pm

    Can’t redo your mortgage, unless you have a job. They won’t if you are drawing unemployment either. I tried and was turned down. This is an issue they need to look at. They should stall foreclosures with the $8000. dollars instead of trying to resell the homes we lost because of their mistakes.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 11:26am

    I will register as independent after the next vote..i no longer want to be affiliated with the dems or gop!

  • billines 10/27/2009 11:27am

    If there is a perceived chance that anyone would try and delay the debate after a successful cloture vote to proceed… Why wouldn’t Senator Reid motion to invoke cloture on the bill today? It would move things along considerably, and isn’t that what he has been saying he wants to do? Motion for cloture TODAY… just in case we need it later. Based on what I’m hearing from the floor speeches, it doesn’t look like the Republicans are willing to withdraw some unrelated amendments like ACORN and E-Verify. Wow! They are so out of touch with what Americans care about, and even more, they are out of touch with what Americans NEED right now.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 11:34am

    If there was a unanimous consent the dems would not still be talking every chance they get! And its not only republicans both partys are out of touch with what is going on or this would have been a done deal along time ago, thanks to Sheehan who had to rock the boat!

  • shead 10/27/2009 11:35am

    I am so sick of them holding this bill up with other issues that aren’t nearly as important. This is for the people whom are unemployed, buying a house is not an issue. We are worried about keeping a roof over our head. I tried to get refinanaced, guess what, that part of the stimulous don’t work for us either. No job, no help. The only thing we can pray for is unemployment, so we can try to stay alive until the so-called jobs come back. My husband and myself have not drawn a check since July. We have worked 40 years, never drawing unemployment benefits, saving for our retirement, but now we have gone through everything. This is our last hope before losing the only thing we have left, our home. Nothing seems to be happening. For months all we have read or heard is maybe tomarrow, maybe by the end of the week, maybe by the end of next week. Today it is maybe by 5:30. I pray, they stop this nonsense today. Vote on this issue seperately from other less important ones.We need help TODAY!!

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 11:36am

    I already changed to independent and will campaign against anyone who votes against this bill or stalls.
    He hasn’t mentioned us call his office see where he stands
    Inhofe, James M. – (R – OK) Class II
    (202) 224-4721
    Web Form:…

  • MrJonson 10/27/2009 11:38am

    The Environment can wait, No One is in a Rush for a New Healthcare Agency, just Expand Medicare to cover everyone, and Afghanistan is not threat to attack us. Get off of these distrations and get to JOBS and EMPLOYMENT, without working Americans no one is going to pay TAXES which are needed to fund all the other crap.

  • goingbroke 10/27/2009 11:38am
    James M Inhofe, —-dont this guy know no one cares right now!!!
  • bcmky 10/27/2009 11:38am

    If you don’t like what you hear ring their phones off the hook while they are speaking….

  • networkgal 10/27/2009 11:43am

    Thanks a bunch-you don’t get CSPAN if they’ve shut off your cable. Do you have a Twitter account we can watch?
    I want these Senators to know WE ARE WATCHING YOU LIKE A HAWK!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We will publish this vote “big time” and we will remember in the ballot box.
    Now go do your job for US because you owe us………

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 11:59am

    You can watch Cspan if you have Internet with Cable.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 11:46am

    This Senator from Maryland is good, he is sticking it to them good!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 11:47am

    I part of the Unemployment club for 1 year now in New Jersey. I put out 5 resumes a day and then hit the ground runninng to physically pass out and fill applications. When we say there are no jobs, THERE ARE NO JOBS. It seems like the Republicans are like the heath insurance companys, money came out of my check to the unemployment insurance Fund and now that I’m unemployed they want to drop you coverage. For 10% of AMERICANS ITS A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION! Currently I’m trying to start my own small business however AS A AMERICAN getting a loan or grant seems to be impossible. If anyone knows any tricks on how to get a small grant or loan please post.

  • billines 10/27/2009 11:47am

    From this blog (above):

    “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.”

    Do you believe what they are doing to us? This is not what we need… another reason to slow passage on this bill.

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 11:50am

    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..

  • Comm_reply
    goingbroke 10/27/2009 11:58am

    they already showed us what they want….political pawns

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 11:50am

    Kyl is on i have a shoe in my hand!

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 11:52am

    Kyl, Jon – (R – AZ) Class I
    (202) 224-4521
    Web Form:

    I have a feeling you will be needing this….

  • Comm_reply
    Beaubien 10/27/2009 11:54am

    Kyl needs to be unemployed !

  • Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 11:52am

    Forget the shoe get tar and feathers

  • Comm_reply
    Doingtherightthing 10/27/2009 12:01pm

    LOL I agree that dude needs to run far away if I ever see him.

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 11:53am

    Tent cities for the unemployed in Phoenix and Tuscon, down the road from Kyl

  • Comm_reply
    Doingtherightthing 10/27/2009 12:03pm

    Maybe he has a interest in the water supply to the tent citys. Trying to make a buck off the unemployed.

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 11:55am

    Sen Kyl

    730 Hart Senate Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-4521
    Fax: (202) 224-2207

    2200 East Camelback, Suite 120
    Phoenix, Arizona 85016-3455
    Phone: (602) 840-1891
    Fax: (602) 957-6838

    6840 North Oracle Road, Suite 150
    Tucson, Arizona 85704
    Phone: (520) 575-8633
    Fax: (520) 797-323

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 11:58am

    Does he believe this? From his site, noth about the unemployed.

    Kyl on Medical Liability Reform: “We all work for the American people, not the trial lawyers.”
  • Comm_reply
    NYER566 10/27/2009 12:07pm

    Don’t get me started on Health Care, pelosi changes its name every other day! The don’t even want to post the bill online so people can read it. The dems are secretly meeting without any GOP input on purpose. NO Obamacare!!!!

  • shead 10/27/2009 12:01pm

    “goingbroke”, You are so right. The most important issue is UNEMPLOYMENT!! What is wrong with our representatives. They are causing us to all get sick anyway. They should be responsible for paying for our health issues because the longer they hold out on passing unemployment extensions, the more of us that will need health coverage, especially for malnutrition. Maybe if they would put us first instead of other countries, we would still have our jobs. They are the ones that voted all our jobs to be out-sourced to other countries, ALL in the honor of good-relations. Oh yea, good for their pockets, while we(the unemployed) suffer the consequences. They should all have to dig in their pockets now to straighten this mess out. WE NEED HELP.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:02pm

    Just don’t forget to register independent send these asswipes a huge message, we do not want to be associated with either party! Independent is the way to go! They will freak out if no one is registered Democrat or Republican, what better way to get back at all these bozos!

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