Stimulus: Longest Congressional Vote in History

The Senate passed the stimulus bill late Friday night and the NY Times reports it was the longest congressional vote in history.

Hopefully, President Obama and the Dems learned that Republicans are not their friends.

The House vote was 246 to 183, with just 7 Democrats joining all 176 Republicans in opposition. In the Senate, the vote, 60 to 38, was similarly partisan. Only 3 centrist Republicans joined 55 Democrats and 2 independents in favor.

What took so long? [More...]

The peculiar 5-hour 17-minute process was required because Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, had to return to Washington from his home state after attending a funeral home visitation for his mother, who died Feb. 2.

Under a procedural deal between the parties, the bill needed 60 votes to pass. The vote began at 5:30 p.m., but from 7:07 p.m., when Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, cast his “aye,” the tally hung at 59 to 38, until Mr. Brown arrived.

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    I really can't believe (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by Steve M on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 12:52:11 AM EST
    that not one Republican would switch his vote so the guy didn't have to fly back from his mother's wake tonight, and then back to the funeral tomorrow morning.  They knew the bill would pass, they could have shown a little humanity.  Maybe they were rooting for a plane crash.

    Nor can I. It's inhumane. (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:13:17 AM EST
    And for that matter, his own party could have given up the White House goal of having the bill signed on President's weekend.  I think the Presidents we celebrate, Washington and Lincoln, would not have minded a white to have the man be with his family to bury his mother -- on Valentine's Day, too.

    cx (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:25:54 AM EST
    -- make that "a whit."

    That is probably the strongest (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:53:30 AM EST
    signal yet about how far toward post-partisan unity the Republicans plan to go. Petty to the last.

    You're on to something ... (none / 0) (#10)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:41:50 AM EST
    Maybe they were rooting for a plane crash.

    Why not?  It worked out well for them once before ...


    I have a feeling that was (none / 0) (#13)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:48:36 AM EST
    the request put to the new Commerce Secretary.  He had nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing the right thing...instead, he quit.  A little late but that was definitely the right thing.

    Oh, those heroes (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by lilburro on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:31:19 AM EST
    Republican "centrists."  However, if Republican centrists are largely viewed as heroes, that's good for us.  If being a heroic centrist means voting with Dems, and not voting with Dems means being hardcore "wingy" it could work in our favor.  God knows we have more than enough centrist/conservative Dems to go around...

    But...of course, if the bill sucks, then what?

    You really would have thought that Voinovich, (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by steviez314 on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:11:53 AM EST
    who is retiring anyway, might have done his fellow Ohio Senator a favor and switched just so Brown wouldn't have to come back.  Every one would have seen it as a kind gesture.

    The Republicans really do have black hearts and empty minds.

    Maybe now, Reid will actually start making them filibuster the old-fashioned way, if it's not too inconvenient.  Neh!

    Forcing a filibuster (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by CoralGables on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:47:29 AM EST
    would have been rather humorous and a perfect time for it. Sherrod Brown could have stayed in Ohio with his family and a few Republicans would have been forced to talk non-stop over the holiday weekend. I can't even imagine the battle that would ensue among the GOP Senators as they try and decide how many would have to actually give up their weekend to talk to the walls. There may have been a dozen offers to vote Yes just to be able skip the filibuster and go home.

    I wish they would (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by allimom99 on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 10:26:40 AM EST
    make the rs put up or shut up on the filibusters. THEN we would see how principled they all are, and we the people could decide who our friends really are. I honestly think Harry hasn't got the stones for it, though.

    I wholeheartedly agree (none / 0) (#50)
    by McKinless on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 06:18:55 PM EST
    Make the gasbag Republicans filibuster! See if they have it in them. I'm betting they don't. And if they do, filibustering will make them look as vain and silly as they, in fact, are.

    yes, it is. (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by cpinva on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 06:16:51 AM EST
    I believe the FICA payment is what they mean by 'payroll tax'.

    and medicare/medicaid as well. i see 7 democratic house members who's districts should be suffering, come the next budget. vote with me, or suffer the fiscal consequences. they can explain to their constituents why everyone else got something, but they didn't.

    republicans, dear readers, have no shame! let me repeat that again, for those of you on drugs: republicans have no shame!

    to expect any kind of decent behaviour from them is to set yourself up for disappointment, it is not going to happen. they will lie through their teeth, to your face. when called on it, they will lie again.

    since it's darwin's birthday, i'll expain it genetically; they are pre-disposed to lie, it's who and what they are. lying for them is like breathing, a reflex action.

    once you understand this, it makes it that much easier to deal with them.

    They don't lie if they can get away (none / 0) (#19)
    by ThatOneVoter on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 06:41:46 AM EST
    stealing without it.

    On the money cpinva (none / 0) (#36)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 12:25:25 PM EST
    republicans, dear readers, have no shame!

    They've degenerated over the last 3 decades into the lowest form of filth.


    If the Republicans had wanted (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:44:22 AM EST
    to be humane, they could have waived the 60 vote requirement (and not made the budget point of order). None of them had to vote for the Conference Report.

    President's Saturday radio address (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 11:21:51 AM EST
    lauded passage of stimulus bill.  Perhaps this explains why it had to be passed last night?

    "Funeral home visitation"? (none / 0) (#2)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:03:16 AM EST
    For crying out loud, is that idiotic squeamishness or is the term "wake" unknown in most of the country?

    It may be. I had never heard of it until I (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:13:11 AM EST
    met my ex-husband from NJ. We just call it visitation without the funeral home part.

    I'm happy to see all the TN Blue Dogs voted for it. I no longer consider Heath Shuler, former Vol, as an honorary Tennessean. Though, I guess he's better than Zack Wamp.


    My old Catholic family (none / 0) (#29)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:45:27 AM EST
    would call it a "viewing" at the funeral home. They also gather for a praying of the rosary at the funeral home the evening before the ceremony.

    I always thought (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Steve M on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:24:16 AM EST
    that "wake" was a Catholic thing.

    Apparently the purpose of a wake (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:46:10 AM EST
    used to be to assure the deceased was really deceased.  Family and friends held vigil all night before the burial.  Then it also became an opportunity for a  party.  Irish?

    The old wake (none / 0) (#27)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:43:10 AM EST
    would have a table full of food and strangers (sin eaters) would be brought in to eat all the food as a symbol of taking on all the dead person's sins.

    Or, maybe I dreamt that.


    You did not imagine it; I googled -- (none / 0) (#48)
    by jawbone on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 06:25:03 PM EST
    "Sin eaters"

    Came up as that and sin-eaters; seems to be out of Wales. There was eating of bread over the corpse or dying person. Lots of entries, but I didn't read them all. Very interesting.

    Also check sin eaters movie."

    Amazingly, I can't post the URL's for the searches!


    I think they are different (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:30:28 AM EST
    Isn't funeral home visitation where you view the body in the casket before the funeral (and wake?)

    In my many (none / 0) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 12:05:57 PM EST
    years in very Catholic Boston, I went to lots of these and never heard it called anything but a "wake" and never went to one that wasn't open casket.  You have a wake, then a funeral service in church or funeral home, then the burial itself, which usually has another small service, and then most often a gathering afterwards at the home of the deceased's family.

    Upstate New York (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by daring grace on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 02:54:07 PM EST
    They have obituaries and 'death notices' which list the post-mortem events.

    These usually don't list the 'viewing' or 'visitation' as a 'wake', but everyone talking about that event that happens prior to the funeral where last respects are offered and the deceased is seen for the last time before burial are always called 'wakes' around here. At least, among the Christians.

    Different traditions for the Jewish people I know.


    Wake (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 12:14:44 PM EST
    From Wiki:

    A wake is a ceremony associated with death. Traditionally, a wake takes place in the house of the deceased, with the body present; however, modern wakes are often performed at a funeral home.

    The English word "wake" originated from the ancient Indo-European root "wog" or "weg," meaning "to be active." This evolved into several meanings, including "growth" ("vegetable"), "to become or stay alert," and "watching or guarding." The third also evolved into the word "watch," and it is in this sense that people have a "wake" for someone who recently died"[1]. While the modern usage of the verb "wake" is to "become or stay alert", a "wake" for the dead harks back to the antiquated "watch or guard" sense. This is contrary to the urban legend that people at a wake are waiting in case the deceased should "wake up."[2]

    Departure customs such as 'emigrant wakes' were a marked feature in Ireland during the 19th Century.

    Re "funeral home visitation": (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:44:23 AM EST
    in the Midwest, at least, there is a small announcement (pd.) in the newspaper as to when the visitation hours will be at the funeral home.  The family is present and people who choose to come to the visitation come through a kind of receiving line to greet and offer consoling words to the family.  Could be open casket, closed casket, or, I suppose, no casket.

    P.S.  Years ago, there was a news story about a drive through viewing possibility at a Detroit funeral home.  


    Visitation (none / 0) (#37)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 12:43:47 PM EST
    is pre-funeral and is very common, at least in my part of the country.

    Visitation is more than a receiving line.  Actual visiting among mourners does occur since in so many cases people often haven't seen one another for a considerable time, especially if the deceased is elderly. Visitation is often something of a reunion.

    Visitation can be for one or two days and can consist of a daytime and evening session.

    Visitation is valuable because it affords multiple options to pay respects. A visitation can be attended if it's not possible to attend funeral services.


    An abiding memory: standing next to (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:36:42 PM EST
    my father, who was a Protestant minister, as his congregation came to console him regarding my mother's untimely, accidental death.  But, as it was his profession, custom, and inclination, he was consoling those who came to show their support for him.

    So terribly sorry (none / 0) (#46)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:28:17 PM EST
    I know what it's like to lose your people in an untimely fashion by accident, illness and unfortunately suicide.

    We lost a son but I was more fortunate than you, my mother lived to be ninety but I still wish she were here.

    Minister or not, your father must be a rock.


    Thanks. It was a long time ago. (none / 0) (#47)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:41:16 PM EST
    I did mention to my Dad at the time that the people came to offer condolences to him but he seemed to be the rock in the room.  He sd.:  only on the outside.

    That unity pony kicked Obama in the... (none / 0) (#9)
    by nellre on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:39:24 AM EST
    Obama got bruised up for trying his post-partisan shtick.
    Reminds me of Kenny Roger's hit

    Appropriate (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 12:17:11 PM EST
    But it was never a hand to play to begin with.  

    We need a Dirty Rotten SOB in the White House who recognizes the nature of the opposition and understands that doing the job he was elected to do will require the tactics of a no holds barred street fighter.

    Fry 'em in public at every opportunity and if there's no ready opportunity; invent one.

    Successful policy is the best politics and successful policy isn't possible if the GOP is given any kind of a break.


    I have a Question about the stimulus bill (none / 0) (#15)
    by vector on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:27:35 AM EST
    I have a question about the stimulus bill.

    I keep hearing about the payroll tax relief, and the "make work pay" provisions.

    However, I am self-employed.  I have no employees.  I work from home.

    I have rarely had a year where I have made more than $35,000.

    What does the bill have for someone like me?

    Do you pay FICA for yourself? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by ruffian on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:51:11 AM EST
    I know I had to when I was self employed. I assume you will get a rate-cut on that, though I have not read the details of the bill yet. I believe the FICA payment is what they mean by 'payroll tax'.

    You will pay less (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Coral on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:55:35 AM EST
    when you file your Schedule E, self-employment tax. On your 1040, there is also a credit for a portion of the self-employment tax you owe. Make sure you look for it.

    Up to $400 (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by ricosuave on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:17:36 AM EST
    According to this summary in Kiplinger you will get up to $400 in self employment tax relief that you can claim when you file your 2009 taxes 14 months from now.



    Actually, you should be able to reduce ... (none / 0) (#39)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:25:13 PM EST
    ... the payroll withholdings / pay-as-you-go payments (as  I recall they were called back when I tried self-employment) accordingly right now.  

    In general, you should try to set your withholdings so you don't owe at the end of the year, unless overpaying and getting a refund is your forced savings plan.


    you can also underpay...or not pay ahead at all, (none / 0) (#44)
    by DFLer on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 03:05:48 PM EST
    especially if you have issues with the IRS for back taxes. The penalty for late payment is very small. When you send in the dough on April 15, your check should say "for tax year 2008" on it. Then it can only be applied to tax year 2008. On the other hand, quarterly advanced payments can be applied to wherever the IRS wants to apply them...or so says my tax guy.

    Perhaps the HUMANE solution... (none / 0) (#20)
    by azdude on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 06:55:45 AM EST
    would have been to postpone the VOTE UNTIL MONDAY so Senator Brown could have actually spent the time with his family?

    Senator Reid could have simply pushed the vote back...

    Why the rush? Plus, the American people could have actually had time to read and analyze the bill. (Unless we no longer think this is a good thing-- hope and change and all).

    But I guess this now puts Reid ahead of Tom Delay for the greatest abuse of procedures for the purposes of winning a vote.  More change and who would have thunk it!

    Does it not bother everyone that no one from either party actually read the bill they just voted on--- for or against?

    Because (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by jbindc on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:27:36 AM EST
    Monday is a federal holiday and the critters are probably going to be off for the 3 day weekend.  

    Also - Obama wanted it on his desk on Monday.


    You're forgetting the rules ... (none / 0) (#40)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:27:10 PM EST
    ... any partisan nastiness is always the fault of the Democrats, whereas the Republicans just want to be loved.

    Why the deal for 60 votes instead of 51? (none / 0) (#21)
    by ding7777 on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:13:52 AM EST
    Under a procedural deal between the parties, the bill needed 60 votes to pass

    Sloppy reporting (none / 0) (#41)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 01:28:29 PM EST
    "Procedural deal" = "cloture" I presume.  If not, the article really should have said specifically what the procedural deal was.

    The White House & Congress are the main prize (none / 0) (#22)
    by Saul on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:23:24 AM EST
    I voted for Obama.  I know the Republicans are probably taking a big risk on how they voted but you do not win the white house or congress back by agreeing with the democrats or by  making the democrats who are in control of both successful.  It's harder to  throw the bums out if they are successful.

    The republicans job is to make sure Obama is not successful in order to starting winning seats in congress back.  The sooner Obama looses control of the 60 member majority the sooner the republicans will start to make a difference on Obama's legislative agenda.   If it were not for the 3 republicans that moved over this bill would have been dead.   IMO I would not declare this as a major victory for Obama.  He squeaked by by a hair and this is considered the most important piece of legislation on Obama list.

    how many republican and democratic (none / 0) (#31)
    by suzieg on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 11:07:56 AM EST
    senators are up for re-election in 2010? Are more democrats up than republicans?

    Share The Food. (none / 0) (#38)
    by melpol on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 12:48:42 PM EST
    Uncle Sam has a family of over 3 hundred million hungry children. His favorites have been getting a double portion but all were fed well.That situation has now changed and the good times are no longer here. A slowing down of profits is causing our rich uncle to take home a smaller paycheck. Rather than having the poor members of his flock starve or be slaughtered he is cutting out the double portions and asking every one to have only one meal. There are gluttons that still want to receive their double portions. But Uncle Sam is a just man and will only share food with the needy.

    R.I.P G.O.P (none / 0) (#45)
    by JohnRJ08 on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 03:50:03 PM EST
    The real point is, this stimulus bill had to be passed. The Republicans knew that it would pass even if all of them voted against it, which is essentially what happened. Now, they have their campaign slogan for 2012, and don't have to feel responsible if the stimulus bill turns out to be insufficient to pull the economy out of its current vertical nose-dive by the next election. I'm sure they see it as a `cake and eat it too' proposition for the GOP. The problem is, voters are going to remember this obstructionism. The people in red states who cheered when Obama announced that the bill had passed are turning blue as we speak. The Republican Party has chosen ideology and political survival over the good of the country- exactly the opposite of John McCain's 2008 campaign slogan. By insisting that the stimulus bill should include more tax cuts and less spending on infrastructure and education, they contradict Nobel Prize-winning economists as well as the Republican governors of several states. They ignore the fact that, inspite of the Bush tax cuts and last year's government hand-out, the economy still went into a recession in early 2008 and collapsed last October. They're ignoring the recent study conducted by economists which found no measurable impact on the economy by the last tax cut. They try to blame democrats for many of our current problems, while ignoring the fact that they supported Phil Graham's legislation back in 1999 which gutted all federal regulation of the banking industry. If a tax cut won't help a family making $75,000/year, how will a tax cut help a family with no income at all? How can a Republican senator call a program that will repair and upgrade our schools while providing thousands of jobs in the private sector "pork"? How far does our infrastructure have to crumble before the GOP decides it's a good idea to repair our highways and bridges- which will also provide thousands of jobs in the private sector- so we don't start making Mexico look like a First World country?   In 2012, Republicans will only be able to say "We voted to cut your taxes and to stop government spending". They will not be able to say that they put anyone back to work or helped anyone keep their home or their job. In 2012, Obama will have his fillibuster-proof senate.

    Wishful thinking (none / 0) (#49)
    by Slado on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 07:07:05 PM EST
    This stimulus will define this congress and this president and unfortunately for all of us it won't save any jobs and will rusult in huge deficits and inflation.

    This was the only hope the republicans had to get any momentum in 2010 and 2012 and democrats wrapped it up in a pretty little bow just in time for Valentines day.