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Screenshot showing results of cloture vote on extending emergency federal unemployment aid.
In a vote delayed from Monday evening due to weather, the Senate held an initial procedural vote Tuesday morning on extending emergency unemployment aid. In a surprise, the measure cleared the 60-vote threshold for moving forward, with Republican Sens. Dan Coats of Indiana and Rob Portman of Ohio joining Dean Heller of Nevada, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who had expressed support ahead of the vote. The final vote was 60 to 37, with not all senators present, obviously.

Most Republicans wanted to make this vote about how unemployment aid would be paid for—a concern they never had when extending unemployment under George W. Bush and one they obviously would refuse to address by closing even one corporate tax loophole—but the stakes are actually much higher than federal money:

As drafted, the bill would restore between 14 weeks and 47 weeks of benefits averaging $256 weekly to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless who were affected when the program expired Dec. 28. Without action by Congress, thousands more each week would feel the impact as their state-funded benefits expire, generally after 26 weeks.
We're talking about money that's just enough to cover the barest necessities, if those, going to people who worked, lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and are actively looking for work now. And because unemployed people can pretty much be counted on to spend their meager benefits right away, the money goes straight into local economies, producing well over a dollar of economic stimulus for every dollar of aid. This is just one of many facts supporting an unemployment benefits extension that most Republicans reliably ignore or deny.

Passage is still not assured in the Senate:

this could end up like background checks, fyi. vote to proceed to debate but not 60 to cut off debate #UI
weird that people assume UI will now pass the Senate. Still have to clear another cloture motion and Collins will likely demand a pay for
Even if the bill does pass the Senate unaltered, House Republicans are likely to insist on cuts in exchange for an unemployment extension; hopefully Democrats will continue to hold their feet to the fire by pushing for a clean vote or, at a minimum, a revenue increase rather than cuts to another important program. 8:37 AM PT:
Boehner issues statement on Senate UI vote, says he's still insisting on pay-fors & measures to grow economy

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lost another one McTurtle. (5+ / 0-)
  •  Until Boehner... (9+ / 0-) forced to bring it to the floor of the House, it's all just kabuki.

    My prediction stands: it has an even chance of passing the Senate, but will promptly be tabled in the House.  As a standalone bill, Boehner would rather eat razor blades then EVER let it come to the floor for a vote.

    Attached to some other must-pass bill, though, it might have a chance.  We'll see.  I remain pessimistic about my UI being restored.

  •  Give them a job, I don't think they would worry (5+ / 0-)

    about losing the UI.

    Congress won't do their job. Give them the UI. Jobs, jobs, jobs for everyone else.

    Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

    by 88kathy on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:38:09 AM PST

  •  Boehner has taken hostages (7+ / 0-)

    "Give us MORE or we'll kill The Unemployed!"

    That isn't snark, either. People could die from this shit, whether through no money for medicine, or rent, or food. Heart attacks from unnecessary stress. This rat bastard will have blood on his hands again.

    I'd like to suggest that during the upcoming Twitter Bomb today, that we include @SpeakerBoehner in all our tweets.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:43:46 AM PST

  •  Well, we wouldn't want our illustrious (4+ / 0-)

    congress to be inconvenienced by the weather in their quest to screw the very last dime they can possibly squeeze out of their victims, er, fellow citizens during Christmas week and now when it's fking -20 bazillion degrees over most of the country.  THAT would be bad optics!
    So they fixed that by voting to take a vote on whether to screw or screw harder.  Oh yay.

  •  Here's my proposed 'pay-for' (6+ / 0-)

    One-time wealth-tax on corporations hoarding cash. It would put money that's doing nothing back into the economy, and the threat that it could happen again would encourage large corps to hire or invest in capital rather than sitting on huge piles of cash, as many have been doing since the crash.

    My budget-cutting plan: anyone showing up to a government worksite with Confederate images on their truck, gets paid in Confederate dollars.

    by El Sobrante on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:59:31 AM PST

  •  Boehner's doubts are his (0+ / 0-)


  •  They can have plenty of cuts to offset... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OooSillyMe, aesop55

    As long as their defense cuts.

  •  Give 'em jobs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twocrows1023, aesop55, DarthMeow504

    We need to re-start the WPA.

    No need to reinvent the wheel. This New Deal program was a win-win for America. People needed jobs but there weren't any. Instead of paying long-term unemployed barely enough to eat, put them to work doing worthwhile projects to benefit their communities.

    If the fetus you save is gay, will you still fight for its rights?

    by WV Democrat on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:39:08 AM PST

  •  So much distortion on this issue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OooSillyMe, twocrows1023, todamo13

    In Alabama you get unemployment for 6 months. If this extension passes you'll get 9 months. The notion that people r on unemployment for years just isn't true. At least not in AL. People need time to train in new skills or relocate if they get laid off. Also the most you can receive in AL is around $235 a week after taxes. People are not living high on unemployment.  The republicans are heartless.

  •  I just told my wife that I would gladly pay more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in taxes to help these people.

  •  I just called Dan Coats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Generic Democrat

    (or rather his staff) to thank him for this vote. It's a weird feeling, after the number of times I have lambasted him here on dKos. I have never thanked him before for anything.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:19:11 PM PST

  •  hjyut (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    my buddy's step-aunt makes $82/hr on the computer. She has been out of work for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $18010 just working on the computer for a few hours. read this….

  •  once again Collins stands with Boehner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Generic Democrat

    she can act 'moderate' on a procedural vote and trumpet that, while meanwhile she works to hamstring any real progress.

    It would be nice to have a progressive Dem in that seat.

  •  This was just a vote to allow a vote to vote on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    restoring these benefits....

  •  Its' about time... (0+ / 0-)

    That Dems give the Repubs what they've been asking for. A taste of their own medicine. They should insist on cutting a corporate subsidy that would yield billions in savings that would more than make up for this. They should target one of those black holes where they soak up all the money, but yield no benefit to the rest of society. Then watch as Republicans bend over backwards defending making people starve at the same time they've arguing that we can't cut the farm subsidies to Cargil and Monsanto because they're "job creators" at the same time that they're putting family farms out of business. Take away subsidies from Big Oil who is sitting on millions of acres of land they can drill but refuse to while they keep an eye towards ANWR. Start calling out loopholes that Repubs refuse to when they keep saying they'll close them abstractly. Put them on record in an election year for all the corporate subsidies that they defend at the same time they try to attack SS, Medicare, Medicaid and VA benefits. The Dems would get an overwhelming majority in the House, a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, smooth sailing towards keeping the W.H. and they'd have done it without raising a penny in taxes. Imagine what would happen if they actually leveled the playing field after those wins.

  •  Unemployment compensation extension (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What is the GOP doing to American citizens who are trying to find work and cannot?  It shouldn't matter how long it takes, the unemployed need our help--and without the unemployment compensation cost having to be paid for.

    What are these people to do and where are they to go if their meager unemployment checks aren't reinstated?  Should they all go flip burgers for the rest of their lives and never again utilize the skills that provided them with excellent careers?  How productive will that be for our society?

    Where was the GOP after the government shutdown fiasco that cost this country $24 billion?  I didn't hear any apologies or see any efforts by a single soul in the GOP to find a way to pay for this complete and utter waste of taxpayer dollars!

    Don't you guys get it?  Every penny that is paid to people on unemployment will go directly back into the economy, which will create more jobs.  Withholding this money will cost jobs.  How much more economically stimulative could this money be?  Duh!!!

    Is this concept that difficult to grasp?  Wake up GOP or you're going to find yourselves on the outside looking in after the 2014 midterm elections wondering why all of your big money donors couldn't get you reelected!

    Unfortunately, what we have in the GOP are a bunch of egotistical and narcissistic fools who actually believe they understand economics and finance better than the professionals whose business it is to understand economics and finance.  These congressional jokesters are only interested in keeping their jobs and could care less about their constituents.  Anyone who still believes that "trickle down" works needs to have his or her head examined and saliva tested!  

  •  Article (0+ / 0-)

    Pretty much expected. Now the dog and pony show will start with he House!

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