The GOP called for the check Wednesday night, having had enough of the fight over an extension of unemployment benefits that the party had held up for several weeks.
While the Senate was stuck in parliamentary limbo, some 200,000 people actively looking for work lost their unemployment benefits. The bill extends unemployment benefits for an additional 14 weeks across the country, and in some states with the highest unemployment the extension goes to 20 weeks. More on the bill here.
The extension itself was not controversial and passed 98-0. Getting there, however, was a Herculean parliamentary task that provides insight into just how hard it is to pass even popular legislation in the Senate with a minority party intent on opposing the majority’s agenda step by laborious step.
Earlier Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called for the third cloture vote on the bill to break a GOP filibuster. It passed 97-1. (That would be one Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) as the lone Republican to object in public on this round.)