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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 301-330 of 344 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:38am

    Ever heard of walking? Or perhaps the public transportation systems?

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 6:06pm

    Does it ends here? when EXACTLY will we see our first extended unemployment check?

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 7:14pm

    Now that the US Senate has voted to extend unemployments ! does the House have to vote on this bill again?

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 7:19pm

    Remember the “The List of 13” when the next elections start. Remove every last one of them from office. In the mean time support passage of the bill by signing the online petition: There are over 2000 signatures already….PASS IT ON!!

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:51am

    This petition is NOT accurate! How about you people check this site out:

    8.5% and above are the ONLY states that will be getting the extension. Dont be fools. There is a legitimate reason why there is opposition to this bill! It is unbalanced and unfair!!!

    If you’re state is one of those that is below 8.5%, you’re not getting the extension. Chew on that.

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

    jw, you are an idiot. Your reading comprehension is that of a 5th grader.A slow 5th grader. The bill states that 14 weeks of ub are available to all states, with an additional 6 weeks for states with 8.5%. Troll on.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:13am

    yeah, you’re right I was wrong. I apologize. HOWEVER, extension of unemployment benefits needs to be equal. Period.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:53am

    Twenty-three… TWENTY-THREE states will not get this extension! Someone explain to me how this is fair?!?

  • bobby12 10/27/2009 7:45pm

    I have always been a Republican and have always voted Republican. But the way the Republicans have stalled the last extension for unemployment benefits, I will be thinking long and hard before I vote for the Republican ballot again. I never in my life thought I would think that, but times are tough and the R’s act like its not a big deal! I guess not to them! They have a steady pay check rolling in each month! WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US? WHAT ABOUT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN? WHAT ABOUT OUR HOMES? DON’T WE NEED TO EAT AND PAY OUR BILLS TOO?

  • Anonymous 10/28/2009 4:12am

    To the thirteen senators who said NO; you sure are STUPID or just want out of politics. I have been a Democrat all my voting life, however there have been times when I have stepped out to the other side depending on the issue. That will NEVER happen again the rest of my days here on earth. There are a lot of crazy posts here that seem to think living in poverty is what we are used to; I’ve lived the good life and I’ve had bad times, but this stretch of being unemployed has been as rough as rough gets. You don’t eat right because you are on the recession diet which consists mostly of rice, bean, pasta, bread with the essence of meat (sometimes). We don’t eat Bon Bons, chips, and drink beer as I read in a post yesterday. The food pantry (Salvation Army) has been wonderful to us but you can only go there once per month. The Catholic Charities makes bread available to us three times per week. Get a grip people have some compassion.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:27am

    That’s just stupid and short sighted.

  • jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:37am

    Did you people ever think that these Senators that voted against this measure believed that the bill was unfair and only focus’s on states with unemployment rates over 8.5%? Just like it was posted earlier in this blog, there are counties in some of these states that unemployment rates higher than the states unemployment rates. How is it fair that a county that has say 6.5% unemployement in one of the higher unemployment states of say 11% gets an extension but a county with an unemployment rate of 11% in a state with 6.5% unemployment rate doesnt get anything?!?

    Maybe, just maybe these 13 senators see this issue and believe that it SHOULD BE ADDRESSED!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 7:55am

    you sure kow how to run your mouth, why don’t you try getting the facts right first! the bill has already been amended to include all states, those with rates below 8.5% will get benefits also! so get it right or shut the heck up!

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:05am

    Yes, it has been amended, and I was wrong about that. HOWEVER, the bill STILL supports extending unemployment compensation further out for those states with higher unemployment rates. The unemployment extension needs to be EQUAL for all states. 20 for all or none. Period.

    Ever heard of the term “Equal Treatment under the Law”? That extends to states too.

  • billines 10/28/2009 6:44am

    WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW TO HELP GET AN AGREEMENT… is to use your voice and CALL

    They DO NOT agree on one (McConnell said “We were within one amendment of reaching an agreement”) “unrelated” amendment that Reid said was “vexatious”.

    Focus on CALLING McConnell AND the two Nebraska senators that are pushing for the ACORN amendment. This is the main amendment preventing an agreement on H.R. 3548.

    Senator Mitch McConnell – DC office: 202-224-2541
    Senator Johanns – DC office: 202-224-4224
    Senator Nelson – DC office: 202-224-6551

    Ask them to add their ACORN amendment to another bill, this is not the time to punish ACORN, when hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans are suffering. Tell them why passing an extension NOW is important to you and your family.

  • MrJonson 10/28/2009 7:51am

    This is only the LIVE BLOG web page with 291 comments, if you go to the Board over at this link you will find 6,500 comments; we are all Slamming the 13 Traitors:

  • Anonymous 10/28/2009 8:36am

    if republicans were in office, this bill would never have passed. think about what would happen if that were the case. open your eyes.

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


  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:32am

    It was a Republican President who pushed the first Stimulus Package mate.

  • Anonymous 10/28/2009 9:17am

    please be kind.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:06am

    Yeah, it does stand for UNITED States of America? So why is it that Unemployment Extension isnt EQUAL for all states?

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:34am

    It wasnt intended to be a put down. It was intended to point out that people shouldnt be standing around waiting for a hand out from a group of politicians who really could care less about you but rather care more about keeping their power.

  • billines 10/28/2009 10:01am

    If they succeed in changing how it’s PAID for. It will slow the process down considerably. Finance Committees, etc.

    Kyl said “The benefits haven’t run out yet”… What is he talking about, Everyone’s benefits? My benefits ran out in September. Hundreds of thousands have ALREADY RUN OUT!

    The Republicans want to “Take a little time” before passing the bill. That’s what Senator Alexander said. Call and let him know we’ve already run out of time.

    Senator Lamar Alexander: 202-224-4944

    Senator Kyl thinks we haven’t already exhausted benefits. LET HIM KNOW many of us have already run out.

    Senator Kyl: 202-224-4521

    They have said many things that show they do not think this “Emergency Unemployment Extension” is an EMERGENCY! Let then know otherwise.

  • Anonymous 10/28/2009 10:14am

    jaydubya u gotta be about stupid. 2 people already corrected you. the bill has now been amended to include all states. personally i can understand that 13 little twits have never been out of work, out of money, or out of resources. its not completely their fault they dont understand the concept of being being unable to make ends meet. i see a lot of posts saying “get a fast food job” and things like that i worked almost 70 hours a week at my last job and never complained. unemployment only pays a percentage of what i made. i dont want to be on unemployment but its tough times. i fill out at least the required 2 applications a week no matter what. ive been doing this for over a year and ive had 1 call back for an interview at a gas station.

  • Anonymous 10/28/2009 10:16am

    out of over 35 applications. for those of you who think its just people complaining and not wanting to work, that may be the case for some people but not most or all. i would say the fact that a crap load of companies that got shout down might be the cause of the high unemployment rate and not an increase in the amount of lazy people. mcdonalds cant employ everyone especially with more people making less money than ever. who is going to buy mcdonalds food if everyone works there? i say line up those 13 morons and find a really big boot. the crap they are pulling is affecting someone they know somewhere and they just dont realize it. why dont these guys quit fighting over minute details and pass this billthen they could work on something thats actually important like figuring out how to actually FIX the economy and just putting another band-aid on it. this bill is important because people need money now. but thats a temporary solution.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:36am

    Extension of unemployment benefits will not fix unemployment. more jobs will fix unemployment. FDR, understood this. That’s why he formulated the “New Deal”.

  • networkgal 10/28/2009 10:46am

    The reason they think it hasn’t run out is because they can’t count 20 weeks from when the last one was retroactive to depending when your original claim started. It started in April for most of us The National Press has done a lousy job pushing this wrong information-probably FOX!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 2:07am


  • networkgal 10/28/2009 10:58am

    I’m really tired of the self righteous right wing crap! Is anybody aware in the state of Florida you only make $2.50 per hour as a server or bartender? I applied at a bar last week that paid NO HOURLY WAGE! If there is no business which is the case a lot at a Hotel you would make nothing for even showing up but they’d use you to prep all the food instead of paying for kitchen help. This won’t change until we get the SEIU involved in this state and we could use CARD CHECK if it would ever get voted on.
    So get off your high and mighty soap box and find another blog to go terrorize.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 2:06am


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