Thanks to Kerry, Senate Rejects Extension of Unemployment Benefits
by Ingrid Langsather
On May 11, by a vote of 59 to 40, the Senate narrowly failed to pass by one vote an amendment that would have extended unemployment benefits. (Sixty votes are necessary to waive the Budget Act to allow spending above the budget agreement.) As the only Senator missing from the vote, presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry's (D.-Mass.) absence handed the conservatives a fiscal victory. Kerry would most likely have supported the amendment, thus allowing it to pass. Missing votes is not a new phenomenon for Kerry. According to the Republican National Committee, Kerry missed 65 % of roll call votes during the 108th Congress (through March 5, 2004).
Senate Democrats have tried several times to pass extended benefits for the unemployed and failed. The last vote took place on March 30 when the Senate failed to pass a $10 billion unemployment benefits package.