This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for floor debate and prohibiting amendments to legislation extending unemployment insurance for laid-off workers whose benefits had expired. Specifically, the bill extended unemployment insurance for six months for workers who had exhausted their benefits.
Democratic leaders had brought up the bill earlier in the week under a process known as suspension of the rules. Motions to suspend the rules limit time allowed for debate, and prohibit members from offering amendments. A two-thirds vote is required to approve the motion and pass a bill, rather than the usual majority. While a majority of members voted in favor of the bill, it failed to receive the two-thirds majority vote required for passage under suspension of the rules. Thus, the Democratic leadership decided to bring the bill up again under a process requiring only simple majority vote.
Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “…Never before in our history has Congress allowed extended unemployment benefits to lapse when the unemployment rate was anywhere close to 10 percent; yet here we are again trying to extend this critical program to keep food on the table for millions of households, including millions of American children across this great Nation simply because the other [Republican] side of the aisle repeatedly can only say `no.'
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) urged opposition the measure because it increased the deficit: “…Republicans want to reduce the deficit; and if the underlying bill had been offset with reduced spending elsewhere, Republicans would have supported it…. Congress cannot continue this spending spree. We're simply living beyond our means, and I fear the consequences of our actions are not far off.”
The House agreed to the resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to the unemployment insurance extension bill by a vote of 231-189. 231 Democrats voted “yea.” 175 Republicans and 14 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation extending unemployment insurance for laid-off workers whose benefits had expired.