What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : The Unemployed : S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Overcome a Point of Order Against an Amendment to Extend Federal Unemployment Benefits by Six Months. (2004 senate Roll Call 18)
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S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Overcome a Point of Order Against an Amendment to Extend Federal Unemployment Benefits by Six Months.
senate Roll Call 18     Feb 26, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

During debate on legislation to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages resulting from negligence on the part of the gun industry, Senator Murray (D-WA) proposed an amendment unrelated to the underlying bill which would have extended by six months-from December 31, 2003 to June 30, 2004-federal unemployment benefits for jobless workers (unemployment benefits are provided to laid-off workers to help them support their families until they can find new jobs). Progressives supported Murray's amendment because, in their view, Republican leaders and the Bush Administration had failed to protect jobless workers from financial distress during the recent economic downturn which began in 2001. Conservatives opposed Cantwell's amendment. According to Senator Ensign (R-NV), the current 5.6% unemployment rate was not high enough to justify federal spending on unemployment benefits at a time when the federal government was running large budget deficits. Senator Ensign also questioned the accuracy of the unemployment figures by arguing that many self-employed individuals, such as the estimated 200,000 Americans who operate full-time businesses selling products on online auction sites such as eBay, are not included in the unemployment data. The subject of this vote was a motion to waive a point of order lodged by Senator Nickles (R-OK) against Cantwell's amendment on the grounds that Cantwell's proposal was not relevant to the underlying legislation (after cloture is invoked on a bill, all subsequent amendments must be germane (relevant) to the underlying legislation). Progressives voted to waive the Nickles point of order based on their support for extending unemployment benefits (sixty votes are required to overcome a point of order). On a vote of 58-39, the necessary sixty votes were not obtained, the point of order was sustained, and Cantwell's amendment was rejected. (Note: Senators John Kerry and John Edwards-both supporters of Cantwell's amendment-were absent for the vote because they were campaigning in California for the Democratic nomination for president.)

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