Merkley blows the whistle on Senate Republicans; makes the case for unemployment insurance

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Today, the U.S. Senate took an initial test vote on extending unemployment insurance. Here's how Politico -- and much of the media -- reported the vote:

...a surprise vote on Tuesday to break a GOP filibuster of legislation extending unemployment benefits.

No, no, no. Today's vote was a procedural vote. The vote to break the GOP filibuster is on Thursday. What?! Yeah, I know. It's complicated and stupid. Let Senator Jeff Merkley explain:

I gotta say, you're giving the Senate Republicans way too much credit, because today they only voted in favor of having a debate on the issue.

They did not vote in favor of closing debate on the bill itself.

In fact, we anticipate that -- based on McConnell's proposal today -- they're going to try to attach conditions that will make it extremely hard to pass unemployment.

And so, we really need to rally people across America to have them weigh in with their Senators that not only should we debate the issue, we should actually restore the unemployment program. ...

This sounds so absurd across America, but today the vote was to close debate on whether to debate, and they're forcing us to take an intervening day before we actually vote on closing debate.

And only then, later in the week, will we actually start debating the bill.

You know, I used to think I wanted to be a U.S. Senator. But I gotta say, it feels like living in some crazy combination of living inside Escher's staircase and Bill Murray's Groundhog Day.

I'm so glad that Jeff Merkley is willing to put up this nonsense -- and not just that, but actually fight for really important, progressive stuff that matters.

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