Yesterday I posted about extending unemployment insurance (UI) to the the jobless. Congress is considering temporarily extending UI by 13 weeks, a measure that has been shown to be very effective in staving off recession, not to mention helping the 4 million who will run out over the next nine months. I focused on the Senate, because I just assumed the House would easily be able to pass something like this. I was wrong.
Usually, popular bills that displease a powerful constituency get tied up in procedure in the Senate. But in order to keep the bill from being weakened by amendment or delayed by extended debate, it was considered under a “suspension calendar” which requires a 2/3 majority to pass. It failed 279-144.
All Democrats voted for the bill. Interestingly, although the usual suspects in the Missouri delegation voted against (Akin and Blunt must take it for granted that they will never be beat), Graves and Emerson were released to vote for extended UI. Graves in particular must know that he has a tough fight and can’t afford to get too cute, ideologically speaking. Hulshof was absent, apparently too busy running for governor to make up his mind. Akin, for his part, is oblivious – unemployment in St. Charles County is rising and people are getting nervous. Keep on stumbling, my friend!
Democrats in Congress will try to pass UI extensions again, this time with a simple majority. It should easily pass. Keep the pressure on the Senate!
Senator Kit Bond: (202) 224-5721
Senator Claire McCaskill: (202) 224-6154