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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 31-60 of 89 total comments.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 3:07pm

    for the 13 individuals that voted NAY, I hope that someday you feel the pain,and the depression, that many of us are feeling on a day to day bases. We the people deserve better than this, you would not be where you are at today if it was not for us. I am so looking forward to the next vote, I can assure that I will remember all that has held this back from happening.
    And for those who voted YEA. Thank you

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 3:14pm

    I changed my status from republican to democrat this week, so did my 8 cousins and my mom and dad.The reps are gonna feel it when 2012 comes. they will pay dearly for all this monstruosity that they are forcing upon us.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 4:33am

    You said it BEST!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:26am

    2010 too. 2010 very important for congressional seats. We need more Dems and less obstructers

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:50am

    Why must some of you be so mean, it is true some people are not honest, but there are several thousands who are. Just like in your company or others, there are people who cheat lie or do what every they do. So yes some people will try to take advantage of the system. But for people like myself and others, who really need these monies to get by untill soemthing comes up,or going with out food. So please keep your unwanted comments to yourself.
    I have already lost my house of 20 years, and my job of the same, trying to feed my family and keep them warm, not a lot to ask. So when times are hard, it shows what our country is really made of,I am not proud to ask for help, but i need to try to keep my family safe feed and warm. My story is the same as many others, i will not burden you with any more. Just try to be kind, when you make fun of the people who need help. God forbid it would ever happen to you or to your family….

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 11:40am

    so does enyone have realistic idea about how long will it take for us to see a check or a dam claim form in the mail after Obama sighns it cuz im tired of hearing about 2 to 3 weeks theirs gotta be a more relistic answer?

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:59pm

    Agree, Live in South Carolina, both Jim DeMint and Linsay Graham voted nay on this one, was going to vote for Graham if he kept up being more even handed, as he has on other issues recently. DeMint I will campaign against. He has developed a very un Mint like flavor. Time to spit him out and rince our mouths out to remover the taste, and him from office. Graham put himself back in the ? for my vote. We have a 12% unemployment rate in this state, and both of our senators are voting against the working people of South Carolina.

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 7:58am

    And they are saying the economy is better. Yeah….in their wealthy worlds it is because the Republican false numbers have just increased the stock market, which this country shouldn’t and doesn’t need, so they can make more money on their investments. They aren’t pulling the wool over our eyes as they think they are but hopefully we are pounding nails in their coffins. Wonder if Obama will go to their funerals. He certainly isn’t going to ours!!!!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 3:14pm

    That is great that it has finally passed, however it is not complete yet…and once it has been totally passed it still takes the unemployment office at least a good 2 to 3 weeks to set up there system, at least that is my experience with the last extension.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 3:50pm

    I myself was a Republican for over 30 years, but last week I changed my status to Democrat, I am not able to support a group of people that only looks out for themselves and the rich, I’m sure they have constituents in their state that needs just as much help as the the thousands that have ran or about to run out of their benefits, this is SICK!!! to let people here in there own Country suffer for Politcal gain, just to prove something. We won’t forget 2010 and 2012 is nearer than you think!!!!!!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 4:04pm

    YES!! NOW if they would update the unemployment per state to October and NOT September… my state layed off thousands recently… we surpass their #‘s listed… we’re second now in UE. WHEN WILL THIS CHANGE TO THE BETTER???… All the money they “pumped” into the system went to jobs that most people I know don’t do (we’re white collar/IT and NO $$ went into that part)….sigh….I bet it really didn’t help many others either…but I could be wrong..

  • billines 10/27/2009 4:22pm

    For those of you who want to call the 13 NOES and tell them why passing the Unemployment Extension is important to YOU… here they are:

    Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY] DC office: 202-224-6441
    Sen. Christopher Bond [R, MO] DC office: 202-224-5721
    Sen. Jim Bunning [R, KY] DC office: 202-224-4343
    Sen. Thomas Coburn [R, OK] DC office: 202-224-5754
    Sen. John Cornyn [R, TX] DC office: 202-224-2934
    Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] DC office: 202-224-6121
    Sen. Michael Enzi [R, WY] DC office: 202-224-3424
    Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC] DC office: 202-224-5972
    Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT] DC office: 202-224-5251
    Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK] DC office: 202-224-4721
    Sen. Jefferson Sessions [R, AL] DC office: 202-224-4124
    Sen. David Vitter [R, LA] DC office: 202-224-4623
    Sen. Roger Wicker [R, MS] DC office: 202-224-6253

    Start calling tomorrow morning to let them know how you feel about H.R. 3548 passing as soon as possible and what it means to you and your family.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/27/2009 9:20pm

    Thank you and I will along with everyone that reads this.

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 5:54am

    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
    billines 10/28/2009 6:04am

    NO! That is not why they voted against the cloture motion.

    The way the bill is now… ALL STATES, ALL COUNTIES, WOULD QUALIFY! (14 weeks)

    The states with 8.5% or more would get an additional 6 weeks.

    The reason it is being held up is that two Nebraska Senators want to add an ACORN amendment that Majority Leader Reid will not agree to.

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

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

    Ask them to add their amendment to another bill. Tell them why passing an extension NOW is important to you and your family.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:37am

    You’re as out of touch as these GOP obstructionists who are merely playing partisan politics. And you’re giving them credit they don’t deserve.

    The current bill in the senate was amended 3 weeks ago. It provides 14 weeks for ALL states. It also provides an additional 6 weeks for states with unemployment rates at or above 8.5% for a total of 20 weeks.

    Keep up with us.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:00pm

    Get your facts straight. You are looking at antiquated information.

  • Comm_reply
    dartcanyon 10/29/2009 8:03am

    No we are not. I have every feed and site open and am watching live what is NOT going on in Washington.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 4:29pm

    IT IS About time let us pray that is passes im a nursing student and wish to remain like that for the reaminder of this extension

  • Lynette1015 10/27/2009 5:39pm


  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 3:25am

    i’m too lazy it look it up, but where were you when the eb progream was passed in feb?
    was colorado covered?
    Did you complain about people being left out?

  • Comm_reply
    ajmerri99 10/28/2009 7:45am

    Lynette 1015. many people on here have said time and time again that all 50 states are getting the extension of 14 weeks. If your state is over 8.5% your state will recieve an additional 6 weeks.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 6:14pm

    it will cover u in CO….its 14 weeks for all states and 20 weeks for states with 8.5 % or higher for their unemployment rate…

  • Comm_reply
    jaydubya 10/28/2009 6:04am

    It needs to be equal for ALL states, Period.

  • dlavalley 10/27/2009 6:17pm

    Does this mean they have another 30 hrs. to fix the directions (amendments) on this purposely delayed bill? Every1 please don’t 4get about this BS the republicans put us, in need, through. Election Day is pretty far away, this situation I hope will not be 4gotten. Our 20 weeks will have come and gone. But the point of this situation is that, the so called (republican) Senators have no human compassion, & should be ashamed of themselves! I hope it is RETRO, to get caught up, but I heard that is not how it’s being played out. Good Luck my fellow Americans, we’ll fix ther ASSES @ the polls!

  • dlavalley 10/27/2009 6:22pm

    Also, if ur UE office is closed for a few hours for an update or whatever they want to call it. In my experience checks will follow that week after update. If u call like I did last time I got a check the day after I got my notice of elegibility. Let’s get this thing threw the Senate first!

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 8:29pm

    You people are absolutely ridiculous. I live in Indiana one of the hardest hit states. My unemployment ran out 3 weeks ago, it is impossible to find a job right now. You guys are blaming the republicans for holding this bill up. As anyone stop to look at why? Republicans are for this bill, but they want the funding for ACORN to stop and i agree. They also want the money for this bill to come out of Obama’s 787 billion dollar master plan. ACORN gave a lot of money for the democrats for the election. Now it looks like the democrats are paying them back with this bill. That’s illegal by the way. People please look at the big picture.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/28/2009 6:43am

    This is an urgent bill and has nothing to do with ACORN or immigration or any other issue that the GOP has a bug about. You are putting partisan politics over our ability to keep a roof over our heads and eat. My benefits ran out 4 weeks ago and my rent is due on Sunday. My credit cardas are almost maxed out from paying for utility bills and food.

    ACORN can be debated in an other bill that doesn’t have the urgency of this one. We need a clean bill. The Republicans are doing this just to obstruct and slow walk the bill. Nothing more. They have no sense of the big picture and they don’t put country first. They put politics, the GOP and themselves first. Very simple.

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 9:22pm

    If the Republicans are for this bill, they would have passed it back to the House already. They have tried to hold this bill out to advance their own political agendas (ACORN, Home buyers tax credit, etc.) which are totally unrelated to the emergency unemployment bill. They can’t get enough votes to pass anything on their own, so they hold up this bill for weeks trying to add rider amendments while children go hungry, cars and houses are lost, and utilities are shut off. Is this the big picture you speak off?

  • Anonymous 10/27/2009 9:23pm

    (Cont.) Are these really acceptable actions for elected officials? They have plenty of other bills to which these riders could have been added on, and could have been debated properly. In the current economic climate, this is a blatant disregard and a slap for the face for the hard-working people of the United States, who, by no means of their own are put in a position to be reliant on the unemployment system to which they have funded. The Republicans ran to help out the failing banks with billions, but stand by idle while hundreds of thousands of citizen’s homes are crumbling. This is what should be illegal! Surely, they will not be forgotten in future elections. By the way, the reason they do not have enough votes is because Americans have seen what they have done to our Great Country to put America in this position.

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