What: All Issues : Health Care : Access to Health Insurance : HR 4851. (Extending expired programs, including those for the unemployed) Motion to bring debate to a close on a measure that would extend expired programs, including those that benefit the unemployed/On the motion (2010 senate Roll Call 116)
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HR 4851. (Extending expired programs, including those for the unemployed) Motion to bring debate to a close on a measure that would extend expired programs, including those that benefit the unemployed/On the motion
senate Roll Call 116     Apr 15, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on a bill that would extend for two months certain expired programs, including unemployment insurance benefits. In addition the bill would extend COBRA health insurance subsidies, higher Medicare reimbursements for physicians, national flood insurance and other items. Because of Congressional inaction these benefits had already lapsed for several days and Democrats were eager to push through an extension.  

This particular vote was an attempt to bring debate on the measure to a close (known as a “cloture motion” in the Senate).  If the Senate votes to “invoke cloture” – or bring debate on a bill to a close – then lawmakers must either hold a vote on whether to pass the bill in question, or move on to other business. This type of motion is most often called on contentious bills where the leadership is concerned that consideration could be held up indefinitely by a handful of unhappy senators. 

Republicans spent much of the debate on this bill arguing that while the programs the bill would extend are good and necessary, the bill does not pay for them and raises the deficit as a result.  Tom Coburn, R-Okla., made several unsuccessful attempts to pay for the costs of the bill by taking back federal money that had been allocated but never actually spent in several categories.  Democrats responded by suggesting that while it’s preferable not to raise the deficit, unemployed Americans need these programs immediately.

No one spoke for or against the cloture petition specifically.

By a vote of 60-38, the Senate voted to bring debate to a close.  Every Democrat present voted to close debate.  All but three Republicans present voted against closing debate.  The end result is that the Senate voted to bring debate to a close, and proceed to a vote on passage of a bill that would extend several expired programs, including those benefitting the unemployed.

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