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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 211-240 of 344 total comments.

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..

dlh 10/27/2009 12:35pm
in reply to NYER566 Oct 27, 2009 12:32pm

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!!

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.

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.

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!

dlh 10/27/2009 12:38pm
in reply to NYER566 Oct 27, 2009 12:37pm

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.

iliveinct 10/27/2009 12:41pm
in reply to bcmky Oct 27, 2009 12:30pm

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!!!

dlh 10/27/2009 12:45pm
in reply to NYER566 Oct 27, 2009 12:41pm

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!

Jans1116 10/27/2009 12:50pm
in reply to ohionoeb Oct 27, 2009 12:47pm

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

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???

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.

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??

shead 10/27/2009 1:46pm

Why is Casey talking about pension, I thought unemployment extensions are now a seperate bill?

padoma3 10/27/2009 3:00pm


vote the a33hoes out. my reps are online. get rid of yours..

leonaiz2 10/28/2009 4:23am
in reply to NorCalGurl Oct 27, 2009 4:40pm

NorCalGurl…I was thinking the same thing. Since none of the Republicans had anthing to say (smart) yesterday that this will all be resolved and on the President’s desk Friday. We DO appreciate it more than you will ever know.

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?!#%$!@^#

Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 10:25am

Yeah Enuf is enuf they need to quit the stall tactics and give help to all of us that are in dire needs. I will reiterate Jans1116 post by saying Thanks to O/C and Donny.

Bassmaster2009 10/27/2009 11:24am
in reply to shaunreekstin Oct 27, 2009 11:09am

No srry dont have a clue.My nick refers to fishing not the thump :-)

Anonymous 10/27/2009 12:36pm
in reply to Anonymous Oct 27, 2009 10:23am


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:…

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.

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

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 12:06pm

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!

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!!!

Anonymous 10/28/2009 4:37am
in reply to leonaiz2 Oct 28, 2009 4:23am

Are you saying that the fight is over? From what I understand there is still another debate and then a vote, how much longer can they stall? Do you really think the bill will be on the President’s desk by Friday? Hope like heck you’re right since my money is just about gone.

NYER566 10/27/2009 12:32pm

Baucis is speaking, tell it allllll!

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”.

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