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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 121-150 of 344 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    dlh 10/27/2009 12:45pm

    I’m a registered Independent, as well. I do believe she started this weeks ago, and they agreed fairly quickly to include all states. I could be wrong, but I think Kyl is the one who delayed this the most.

    I agree with you… I’m tired of the “career” folks in Washington. How can you relate to Main Street America, if you’ve never lived in Main Street America.

    Let’s just stay focused, and think positive vibes that this gets done NOW!

  • Comm_reply
    dondk 10/27/2009 12:39pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    really? more than ANY republican?
    I may be wrong, but her argument is she wanted the 2o something states EXCLUDED to be included. What has the republicans offered?

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 12:38pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Everyone let’s say a prayer we are rastling with principalities that we have no control over.God is control of this leave the battle to him,it is not our battle.He has kept of thus far and he will continue to.Reach for him in our time of need his will is mighty he can change things and he will.I have been out of work for 2 years we still have our home cars etc.Only God has sustained us, let your faith begin here give Him the Honor and GLORY HE WILL SHOW UP AND SHOW OUT FOR YOU.To God Be The Glory!!! We will claim VICTORY OVER ALL THINGS!!

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:40pm

    REGISTER INDEPENDENT! Just goes to show you both partys stink if they can’t work together for the unemployed tax payers of america! We pay them every week, why are they holding up paying us!!!!

  • yankees2009 10/27/2009 12:42pm

    thats it……….are you joking…….nobody else wants to speak up for us…????

  • padoma3 10/27/2009 12:42pm

    Someone mentioned this b-4, but it’s frustrating that they just talk about people “about to lose” benefits. What about those who lost them months ago???

  • Comm_reply
    shead 10/27/2009 3:09pm

    I’m with you on that one. I lost my bennefits the 2nd. week in July.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:43pm

    OK so when they vote today to invoke cloture when is senate gonna find time in their schedule to finish this??

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 12:43pm

    Gees hurry up already do you think that millions of Americans would choose to not work? That is un heard of most of us are ready willing and able too! There are not enough jobs around. Even over qualified to work for McDonalds.. give me a break we need help and we need it now. Hawaii is very expensive already and we are hurting.

  • Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 12:43pm

    What no Repub debate :O cowards!!!

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:44pm

    Dems 15 minutes are the gop has 15 minutes

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 12:50pm
    even commen sense is not automatic around here.

    Quote of the day!!

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 12:45pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    The problem with her, she should have got involved a whole lot earlier or did another bill. She killed those of us who ran out already. I haven’t had a check since 9-6-09 and she is to blame, My family loves her. She was part of the problem in the beginning, but her end result was all she cared about, I believe they should get it too but she dropped the ball the way she handled it. Boy it feels good to be an Independent, even if I am losing everything…

  • jelee 10/27/2009 12:46pm

    Well Baracus has just Stated this is the Time for the Republicans to have their say on The bill, Nobody from their side has a Spine to stand-up and say anything in their defense of the trouble they have caused in three weeks.

  • Comm_reply
    jelee 10/27/2009 12:51pm

    I can’t believe the Republicans, have nothing to offer in response of why they have Stalled this Bill ? what about the excuse of how much it would cost?
    or taking it from stimulus Money ? I think they owe the American people some kind of explaination, they have had them for the last four weeks, where is their retro now ?

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:47pm

    Nope doesnt look like the reps are gonna talk fkn idiots

  • ohionoeb 10/27/2009 12:47pm

    I can not belive ..Not “1” Repub is going to Talk about HR 3548 ..UNBELIVEABLE!!

  • Comm_reply
    Jans1116 10/27/2009 12:50pm

    Really? Is that actually unbelievable? Look back at the Senators that voted against the first Tier extension. Go ahead.

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

    I can.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:49pm

    I for one am not shocked, they know they are idiots!

  • dondk 10/27/2009 12:49pm

    as previously mentioned on the S.1699 board, there was little chance the republicans would DEBATE motion to proceed for Cloture. What is there to debate?

    This is the Dem’s day to posture and they are doing it well.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:50pm

    Tell em Dorgan!

  • dlh 10/27/2009 12:51pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Off topic… anyone who gets a chance should watch this PBS video.

  • billines 10/27/2009 12:52pm

    Let’s get H.R. 3548 passed as a clean bill with NO unrelated amendments. Senator Reid should motion for cloture on the bill as soon as the vote on the motion to proceed is done. That is the only way to ensure a final vote and passage of this bill.

    Senator Dorgan said this was “an unbelieveable lack of cooperation”.

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:53pm

    Not a good time to go off topic! I hope rite after the vote to invoke colture Reid asks for an immediate vote on the bill screw the gop, the dems have the votes.

  • Comm_reply
    yankees2009 10/27/2009 12:55pm

    they cant as i understand it

  • bcmky 10/27/2009 12:53pm

    If they oppose this I WILL NEVER vote for a Republican again in my life at any level local, state or federal.

  • ohionoeb 10/27/2009 12:54pm

    Well, Their ( Repub) silence says it all..

  • NYER566 10/27/2009 12:55pm

    The republicans are committing political suicide with this stupid stunt!

  • Comm_reply
    iliveinct 10/27/2009 1:05pm

    They are arrogant and hope you are not paying attention and that you will forget or not show up on voting day.

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