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Senate Passes Procedural Hurdle For Extending Jobless Benefits

October 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

After a month of delay, the Senate this afternoon approved a motion to move forward on their bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits (H.R. 3548). The motion to overcome Republican objections and proceed to an official debate of the bill was approved by a vote of 87-13. Full roll call details on OpenCongress forthcoming. Full roll call details here.

Click here to see a list of the 13 Republicans who voted “no.”

The bill under discussion would extend benefits for people who have exhausted them by 14 weeks in all states and by an additional 6 percent in states with unemployment rates above 8.5 percent.

The House approved a scaled-down version of the bill on September 22nd by a vote of 331-83. Since then, Senate Democrats have tried at least four time to move the bill quickly through the Senate under unanimous consent agreements, but Republicans rejected the agreements each time. They wanted the bill to be brought up under regular order and fully debated so they could offer amendment, some of which are totally unrelated to the unemployment issue. Not wanting to have the bill larded up with unrelated political baggage, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] kept trying to broker a deal with the Republicans to let the bill through under unanimous consent. Last Wednesday, Reid gave up and filed a cloture petition on the bill in order to force the issue to the Senate floor.

Today’s vote on cloture is a big step forward for the bill, but it doesn’t guarantee final passage. The bill will now be opened up for amendments and any poison pills – such as the Republicans’ E-Verify and ACORN amendments – could derail the underlying bill if they get added. Republicans could hold this pre-debate period open for up to 30 hours, but they will probably allow the bill to move to a debate sooner.

A bipartisan group of senators had been planning to add an amendment to the bill to extend the $8,000 homebueyrs tax credit and a business tax break from the stimulus bill that is set to expire, but news reports indicate that they are backing away from the amendment and will let the unemployment bill move forward as a stand-alone bill. If Democrats can fend off any Republican amendments that come up for a vote, they will be able to send a clean version of their bill to the House for a quick vote on agreeing to the Senate amendment. Then it’s off to the President who is expected to sign it into law immediately.

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Displaying 1-30 of 89 total comments.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:01pm

    Thank God, they finally got off their asses. Now add retroactive pay to help us out of the hole we’re in.

  • Comm_reply
    Robertsa4h 10/28/2009 1:28am

    Yeah, the snouts finally came up out of the trough and noticed everyone else’s was empty. Not that they give a damned about their fellow mankind, they just don’t want us peasants coming after their supply. Safety in numbers.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 2:41pm

    How apt! This is exactly how I picture the senate too.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:57am

    Check 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.

    You people are so selfish that you dont realize the millions of other people who will not get the extension if this bill is passed! How about YOU people get your heads out of YOUR asses and think of others BESIDES yourself!!!

    Chew on that!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:22am

    You are wrong and about 4 weeks behind. The house bill was amended and the current Senate bill extends benefits for 14 weeks for all states, and an additional 6 weeks (for a total of 20) for states with rates at or above 8.5%. To repeat:

    All states: total 14 weeks
    States at or above 8.5%: Total 20 weeks (14 + 6)

  • Comm_reply
    ajmerri99 10/28/2009 7:39am

    you are wrong. They extension is for all 50 states at 14 weeks. The states with an average over 8.5 % will recieve an additional 6 weeks on to of that.

    We are thinking of others, why don’t you better inform yourself before you think that people are being selfish . . . you my friend are behaving like a jackass.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 8:58am

    I know that’s right!!! Now add the retroactive to help out those Americans in the hole now due to the Republicans who held this bill up for a month.

  • Comm_reply
    rseymour4 10/28/2009 3:59pm

    I have been watching the senate in tv and I never dreamed this bill would take so long. Thank god for the Senators who have been working thier butts off on the floor trying to get this bill passed.I will keep watching and you can be sure that i will never vote for anyone who votes against this bill. This is the first time in my life i have ever collected unemployment. i could always find a job before the unemployment check was approved and mailed. Times are bad. i just hope i can find a job soon.

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 8:12am

    I will never vote again period and those Senators who are “fighting” to get this passed are not doing as much as you think. I am 68 and have never collected UI either and you would think that I am the lowest part of society to hear people talk. I am a college graduate with a BA and have NEVER had trouble getting a job. I have had long term jobs that lasted years but now I can’t even get a maid’s job because I am “over qualified”. What kind of crap is that?? All I want to do is pay my rent, utilities and put gas in a car that I will have to sell by mid-Nov. if nothing happens in favor of REAL Americans. Pelosi is a piece of crap too. ALl she wants is the glory she can get by acting like she did the healthcare all by herself. If she had any backbone at all she would insist on the extension issue being handled. She actually has that power.

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 8:41am

    From what I just read unemployment may not be actually addressed until mid-Dec. because the idiot Republicans say that is when ALL benefits will end. Yup…and that is when the number of homeless and indigent people will be in the MILLIONS and MILLIONS. I will be shocked if it is re-addressed to benefit any of us soon and I need a shock that’s for sure. Right now they are discussing the Guantanamo issues, why Lieberman is disappointed in things and other really stupid things that can wait forever. That time and energy can be put into the unemployment issue. Instead of stepping up Obama stepped down!!! Nice going Obama!!

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 8:41am

    Oh yes….and for those of you who think most of us sit on our asses all day talking on these sites? I applied for 8 jobs this morning and went to interviews. I do this every day and all I get back is “We are NOT hiring at this time”. Then why the hell do you have an ad in the paper Even employment agencies aren’t helping. I have signed on with them too and have tried to go back to school. Answer to that??? I am told that there are NO more funds available.

  • Comm_reply
    humdinger 10/29/2009 9:41am

    “From what I just read unemployment may not be actually addressed until mid-Dec. because the idiot Republicans say that is when ALL benefits will end.”

    hey dartcanyon, where exactly did you read that? can you provide a link to the source of information, if possible? thanks!

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 9:54am

    Hey Humdinger. You must be from back East. Used to say that all the time growing up in Maine. On the Open Congress site there was an article about the healthcare issue not being done until mid-late Dec. and I think that’s the same site that quoted one of the idiot Senators about the UI benefits won’t run out until the end of the year. The assumption, and unfortunately this is a rare time I believe an assumption, by the news is that because the healthcare issue won’t be resolved until Dec., and the fact that Washington is concentrating on that before unemployment, more than likely UI benefits won’t move up the notch and go ahead of the healthcare bill.

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 9:55am

    Humdinger….You have to read thru the crap but that info is there. It’s like crawling thru mud but we’re talking about Washington here. I certainly hope I’m wrong but I don’t think a damn tihng but idiotic talk will take place until mid-late Nov. if then. As of Monday hundreds of thousands more drop of the UI benefits roles and I’m sure the media and Washington will take the fact that we are no longer listed anywhere as a sigh things are getting better. What a bunch of morons.

  • Comm_reply
    humdinger 10/29/2009 10:07am

    thanks dartcanyon. let’s all hope for the best!

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 1:22pm

    That’s all we can do at this point Humdinger.

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 1:29pm

    Senator 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!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/30/2009 8:13am

    No kidding, mine ran out first week of October……WHAT IS THE DELAY AND WHEN DO THEY DISCUSS IT AGAIN? Who needs healthcare when you have no job to pay for it!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 7:21am

    They haven’t gotten their asses up about anything. This morning reports are that the US is gving money to the Taliban in Afghanistan to try and get them to our side and also that a business in England is profiting from US funds. ALL of those monies could be used to help Americans out of work. Also….the news is reporting that continuing jobless claims are down and that is good they say. BS…it simply means that more of us are falling off the rolls because our benefits have run out. How stupid do they think we all are? It is the Republicans who are issuing the wrong stastics so they will have more reason to deny us an extension.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/29/2009 7:27am

    ANd Obama just made another of his lame appearances and of course he didn’t have balls enough to talk about unemployment and helping Americans because he couldn’t care less either. Don’t get your hopes up folks because NOTHING has changed. Republican CNN needs to be shut down. They and other Republican stations barely even mention this anymore. Tells you who’s corner they are in sitting behind their desks making 6 figure salaries. Healthcare can wait. It’s been like this for many, many years so shelve it for a week or so and get back to helping Americans out of work survive. I am a realist and cannot read into something that is not there. When I hear, and I doubt it will happen anytime soon, that the unemployment extension has been approved and that Obama has signed it and that our “check is in the mail” then and only then will I believe a damn thing Washington is saying. I’ve been around a loooong time and am not duped by their lies and BS ways.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:03pm

    so when does this get voted on by the whole senate?

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:06pm

    so when will we actually see this money start coming in to our depleted bank accounts?How much longer do they actually need It seems pretty simple to me,,,Are they going to give us what is due or not??? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get this done ASAP washington

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 7:06pm

    E-mail your Senators

    (EXAMPLE)I am writing to URGE you to TAKE SWIFT ACTION on legislation HR 3548. I am asking you to DO EVERYTHING you can to MAKE SURE A VOTE on the extension happens BEFORE THE END OF THIS WEEK! Most of us depending on jobless extensions have WORKED ALL OF OUR LIVES, and are desperate to return to work. I haven’t had a check for more than 7 weeks! I have to get food from a local charitable food bank. I have just 3 MORE WEEKS TO PAY THE UTILITY BILLS. AFTER THAT IT WILL BE LIGHTS OUT, NO HEAT, NO GAS FOR THE CAR, NO CAR INSURANCE, NO INTERNET, NO PHONE.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:06pm

    No shit!! About time, if I eat another “uncle sam sandwich” I am going to throw up!!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:09pm

    Well, let’s see, the last March extension here in Indiana took about a month to actually get deposited, but, however 3 weeks were retro, who knows?

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:15pm

    The way things are going in the senate, they will probably pull off some kind of Einstein move to put the extension on the back burner again, so they can argue on what to rename an old warship, turned into a restaurant or museum or something more urgent. Hey maybe they can open it up as a hotel for the homeless! Since they apparently don’t remember WHO put their fat asses in office!!! I would bet the “nay” sayers are probably at the twilight of their political careers, but haven’t realizes it yet.

  • iliveinct 10/27/2009 2:42pm

    Don’t forget to call!!!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:56pm

    why cant are president step up to the plate and help and tell these people to stop this crap and do business to help the people

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:23am

    I love President Obama, but I have been thinking the same thing.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 2:56pm

    Lets all pray this passes THIS WEEK!!!!

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