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Another UI Vote Tonight?

July 1, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Here’s what Lynda Waddington at the Iowa Independent is reporting:

Harkin hopeful unemployment extension will pass tonight

Another vote on a bill to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits for the long-term unemployed may come to the floor of the Senate as early as Thursday night, according to U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

“I hope that we can get this done — we only missed it by one vote yesterday — I hope we can pass it tonight before we go home for the 4th of July,” Harkin said early Thursday during a conference call with reporters.

I wasn’t on the call, so I can only go off what Waddington is reporting here, but I would suggest taking this with a big grain of salt. Harkin can “hope” that that the bill can be passed tonight without actually believing that it will even come up. My guess would be that Harkin is pretty much just expressing his desire to see the bill pass tonight, not predicting that it will. Again, hard to say without being on the call.

Here’s one problem — the below was entered into the congressional record last night after the Senate’s failed vote:

Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, if there is no further business to come before the Senate, I ask unanimous consent that it adjourn under the previous order.

There being no objection, the Senate, at 9:40 p.m., adjourned until Monday, July 12, 2010, at 2 p.m.

Still, I suppose it is within the realm of possibility that the Senate could come back into session tonight. Many senators are still kicking around the Capitol because recently-deceased Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV] is lying in repose in the Senate chamber today and they are paying their respects. Also, Senatus reported this morning that President Obama has called a meeting at 3:05 this afternoon with Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV]. Details of the meeting have not been disclosed, but some folks are speculating it could be about the failed unemployment insurance vote. It could also be about the financial reform bill or any of the other issues the Senate is trying to work on. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Radio Iowa is reporting from what is likely the same call with Harkin. Their report seem to contradict the Iowa Independents’:

“Right now, we’re facing about 1.2-million people whose insurance benefits will be cut off at the end of this week,” Harkin says. “By the end of next week, it’ll be up to 1.7-million, and by July 10th, before we ever get back here, about 2.4-million people in America will have lost their benefits.”

The Senate is now in recess for the Independence Day holiday until July 12th, so Harkin says there’s no chance any of those people will get unemployment checks this weekend. “That means they’ll have no income whatsoever,” Harkin says.


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