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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 31-60 of 344 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/29/2009 5:01am

    I see you’re too much of a coward to login, instead you log in as Anon. That’s Pathetic. Atleast when I say you people are pathetic, I’m not afraid to hide who I am.

    Full of myself? No, the difference is that I understand the importance of getting work at all cost. Something you obviously dont understand.

    And no, I’m not a Republican. I’m someone who believes that the people of this country should stop sitting around expecting a hand out for the government and start thinking for themselves and taking care of themselves. As you already said, the Government, particularly Congress, doesnt care what you’re going through.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 11:53am

    You may be suggesting that white-collared workers like accountants, lawyers, etc. should go work at a Dennys and Arbys but the reality of it is that these people are “overqualified” and Dennys is going to give the available job to people who need the job and have similar work experience. There isn’t a job at McDonalds, Dennys, Arbys, etc. for everyone. And do you blame them – do you think the lawyer’s going to jump ship when the economy improves? Of course, he will.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 12:40pm

    jaydubduba… need to be quiet…I doubt you are supporting a family on a fast food job….you have no right to tell people what jobs to take…we are people who worked all our lives, for what we have…and we are trying to keep it!!!!! You probably do not have anything to lose, because you never had anything…SO PLEASE SHUT UP…..NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR YOU DEGRADING PEOPLE….

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 6:03pm

    He/she was not telling people what jobs they should take. He was suggesting that sometimes under tough circumstances, people must lower their standards and expectations in order to meet the needs of their family.

  • dlh 10/27/2009 10:26am

    Thanks Donny and Open Congress… Will be back about 5:15PM

  • Doingtherightthing 10/27/2009 10:27am

    I will return at 5:15 as well

  • padoma3 10/27/2009 10:30am

    Donny. I look forward to your take on what goes on.

  • tx2step 10/27/2009 10:32am

    Thanks to Donny and Open Congress for the past TWO YEARS and numerous UE bills -whew!
    See you @ 5:15PM.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 10:34am

    Thanks, Donny and Avelino and OpenCongress. there is strength in numbers nows the time to rally that point home, I’ll be here at 5:30pm

  • mommyjaynj 10/27/2009 10:37am

    hi donny im in, keeping my fingers crossed ive been out of benefits since sept.

  • jelee 10/27/2009 10:37am

    Thanks Donny and Open Congress, I am in for the Good Fight, I’ll be here at 5:15pm

  • Vowel_Movement 10/27/2009 10:38am

    It is well into October and well past bailing, drying and storing time..Congress, both loads of em are still trying to make HAY out of this particular issue. As it lays there, unrolled and unbailed, very well dried out and not put up and away they will find that it is going to rain dis-satisfied unemployed voters and it will ruin their whole security blanket if they don’t serioulsyget it done and get it on the floor for a vote.

  • canalguyopen 10/27/2009 10:40am

    I still hope for a miracle.

  • kc3295 10/27/2009 10:51am

    Patience, my friends, we will know more after today. As one of the many who ran out of benefits (4 weeks ago), this is important stuff. I am in the same dire straights and everyone else with 3 mouths to feed (and that does not count mine). Georgia is at 10.1% and going up. I really hate to say this, but it is my Senators who are helping hold this thing up.

    I will be back at 5:30pm to see what is happening. In the meantime, watching and listening to this “wonderful” music. Where is the mute button on this remote?!#%$!@^#

  • leo55262 10/27/2009 10:59am

    Thanks, Donny,Avelino and OpenCongress. let’s get this bill PASSED!

  • iliveinct 10/27/2009 11:04am

    Thank you!!! Very cool! Let’s keep the pressure on them!!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 11:11am

    I’m so pissed at the senate!!! both republicans and democrats. I hate this system of government and all the b.s that they put their constituents through. If i have to hear one more republican talk about “cutting taxes” and “big government” i’m going to puke. This goes for the Democrats as well…you know who the real government is??? Lobbyists!!! I need to find out about some firms in D.C and then I can call them and ask them to put pressure on the Senators in their pockets to pass a friggin unemployment extension. I am soooo pissed and hungry and stressed out because I have no food, no money, utilities on the verge of being shut off and a 5 year old to feed!!!

    Signed: Pissed off American who served in the military!!!! (never again…i would shoot myself in the foot before doing anything again to benefit this country, because when i’m in need, they don’t do anything to benefit me!!!)

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:19am

    Refer to my previous statement… If you’ve got needs, get off you’re butt and go get a job. Fast food joints are always hiring.

    I served in the military also, but it is not an excuse to whine and complain when you’re not doing what it takes to get a job.

    All you people are expecting hand outs from your government. It is that type of selfish thinking that has gotten this country into the rut it is currently in. Remember the line “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country”.

    You people need to learn that sometimes you need to rough it and do the less than desireable things in order to get what you need for you and your family.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:44am

    You keep running your mouth and don’t know what you are talking about. Many people are looking for jobs, they have applied at as you call them fast food joints. Fast food chains will not take a chance on hiring a person with a higher education at this time because they fell that the will quit if something is found with higher pay. With that being said at this time people will take any time of position. It’s a job. Everyone don’t have experience in all fields therfore it is hard. So you need to watch your mouth on how you lower people. These people must have pride about them self they were working. Or they would not be getting unemployment in the first place. Instead of you bad mouthing you should be praying for them and your self. If you got a job you could lose it in a blink of an eye. Thank God that you were bless with a position and pary that it does not go under.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 7:36am

    How snide. Work two part time jobs and that 60 hrs x 8 bucks/hr nets around $1400. Do you think even a small family can survive on that, even if they are renting ? Do you think a fast food joint is looking to hire someone with a college education and pay to background check, drug test, train, and uniform them — knowing full well there isn’t a hope in heck they will stay employed long-term ? Unemployment isn’t welfare. Many of the people exhausting their benefits paid into the system for many, many years. Personally, I worked for 30 years before I got dollar one of MY OWN MONEY BACK !! What a friggin ignorant little pissant you are. KARMA !

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 4:26pm

    Wow it seem like you been working at the fast food joints for a long time you keep streesing that. Don’t you think we have try any and everything for our family.Are you mad that you don’t get it, I mean you sound real upset that we want money we worked for. 15 year on the same job how lazy could a person be. And stop that you people mess cause this could be you.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 1:23am

    You are really ridiculous. I am 61 years old and worked my whole life never asked for anything and now I need some help. If the government would stop giving money to worthless banks and auto companies that have lived high of the hog for all these years and continue to do so with our tax money we would not be in this problem to begin with. Even with the government money they are still taking huge bonuses and we can’t do a thing about it. You really should get your facts right before spouting off with your nonsense.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:19am

    I was never priviledged, and when I first got married, I made 400/month. (btw, I’m 27) I KNOW what it’s like! You know what I did? I didnt complain about how little the Government did for me! I got off my ass and got a second and even a THIRD job! I DID WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE!

    How about you people do that! Stop your complaining! Stop expecting the Government to give you a hand out! Get off the internet and FIND A JOB!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:47am

    You ever thought it was more jobs out there when you got married. Few out out there that is hiring AT THIS TIME.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 12:45pm


  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 6:05pm

    So just because of someone’s age they automatically don’t know what their talking about? How ignorant and self righteous is that? Yeah, he got his facts wrong but you’re going to demean him just because he’s 27?

  • jelee 10/27/2009 11:12am

    Who wants to save a spot in the unemployment line for all these Senators?
    once they get pass this Unemployment bill and Health care the Well should be dry. you would think after all this time.

  • shaunreekstin 10/27/2009 11:18am

    Yes!!!! Durbin is touching on the topic. No hopes up, but today looks good.

  • Comm_reply
    shaunreekstin 10/27/2009 11:23am

    Durbin=Humanitarian vote for him if you are in Chicago, he seems to be up on everything.

  • tee 10/27/2009 11:21am

    The same old bs, this is nothing new to america. I was watching pbs last nite about Hoover, they did this to the american worker then and they are doing it now. The rich have never believed in goverment helping the poor. They objected to social security, unemployment insurance.The Depression was brought on by HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT> The fought over it then and are still doing their same byline. What really needs to be done is unemployment until a person gets a job, that is the right way to do this. Will we have to do this again in 20 weeks?

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