WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate will start its vote on whether to approve the economic stimulus bill at 5:30 pm, but the vote will kept open until 10:30 pm because Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is home in Ohio attending his mother’s wake, and is not expected to return to the Capitol until late this evening.
Democrats need 60 votes to pass the bill, and Brown’s vote is expected to be the 60th.
Brown will be flown back to Washington on a government plane. The plane is provided by the White House, Brown’s office said, because the vote is “official business” and there are not commercial flights available that would allow him cast his vote and then return to Ohio for his mother’s funeral Saturday morning. He will fly back to Ohio immediately after he votes.
The vote that will start at 5:30 pm is technically a procedural vote to allow stimulus spending to exceed budget rules. But by unanimous consent, senators agreed to have the vote also count as the final passage of the bill, so there will not be a final roll call vote on the bill itself.
UPDATE: CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports that a White House official refused to provide a cost estimate for the military plane, but acknowledged “it will be a higher cost than if he were flying commercial.”
The official said it is a “small government plane” and the White House decided it was necessary because of the lack of commercial flights this evening, and the difficulty of getting Brown back to Ohio in time for an early burial Saturday morning.
“Taking immediate action to save or create 3.5 million jobs and get America’s economy moving again is a top priority for Ohio and the nation,” said the White House official. “Given that no commercial flights were available that would allow Senator Brown to make the vote and to attend services memorializing his mother, the administration provided government transportation to ensure that he could do so.”
Wow, what the corruptocrats won't do to insure they get the vote...and on tax payor dollars! God's watching!
Awesome.. GET IT DONE OBAMA!!!
Sorry to hear about your loss, Brown. Way to be a team player though.
Republicans are really being ridiculous, making someone return from their mother's wake is going too far. Can't he vote by phone, tele -conference? Why does he need to be there in person for a majority vote.
Why don't we just make a party of it??? Just one more delay in a mountain of mess.
FDR in 1936: "We know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like it to have it said of my second administration that in it these forces met their master."
Chew on that, Rushpublicans.
Barack HUSAIN Obama or Big Daddy O is running circles around you chumps!
While the GOP is standing flat footed like cavemen he has Rush calling him the Messiah, GOP who try to work with him get turned against by their constituents, Independents see the GOP as obstructionist, GOP governors are for the bill and against their own Congressman. Conservatives, you need to start another party.
Its like Operation Chaos backwards. We should call it SOAHC. Has anyone seen PUMA?
If I were a Republican, I would vote for the package so this senator would not have to be so inconvenienced at this time. What a shame there is no one with the guts and/or common sense to do it for him.
He should pay for the flight both ways. This is a great way to start off with some fiscal discipline. If he doesn't make it, the vote doesn't count.
Senators and members of congress should be able to cast their votes for legislation electronically. This is incredibly wasteful. It is silly for him to have to fly all the way from Ohio to Washington, DC and back again in order to vote for the bill. Online voting is commonplace in just about every other institution in the United States. It is simple to set up a secure web site where senators can vote. Why not bring the Senate into the modern age, instead of being stuck in traditions from the 1700's?
It's real simple people:
You want a nation of Joe the Plumber(s), or do you want a nation of Henrietta the House Grifter(s).
I'll take, Joe.
Any day of the week.
Wait, they grilled Auto CEOs for flying jets to DC and now Obama is using OUR TAX DOLLARS to fly his boy up to DC...
And that is Obama's fault...
Senator Brown, please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your mother. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for thinking of me and the rest of this country at this difficult time in your life. This is one of the best examples of putting country first that I believe I have heard in a very, very long time, and I just want to say thank you. I am not sure I would have been able to make such a trip when my own mother died.
So the taxpayers have to foot the bill for a private jet flight when Brown should be able to just phone it in. Time to move into the 21st century ladies and gentlemen. The plowshares just can't till the soil any longer.
IT'S AMAZING HOW THIS COUNTRY IS SPLIT IN HALF.
DEMOCRATS-GULLIBLE, DOESN'T REALLY UNDERSTAND WHATS IN THE STIMULUS BILL, PUTS ALL HOPE OF SOME KIND OF CHANGE ON OBAMA, WHEN ANYTHING GOES WRONG ALWAYS BLAME BUSH, AND TYPICALLY IS NOT REAL EDUCATED!!!!!!!
REPUBLICANS- TYPICALLY EDUCATED, READS THE PAPER AND WATCH THE NEWS, IS COMPLETELY AGAINST THE STIMULUS BILL BECAUSE THEY KNOW ITS FULL OF MOSTLY SPENDING, CAN SEE WHO OBAMA REALLY IS, SCARED TO DEATH FOR THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE THEY CAN SEE WHATS COMING!!!!!
The republicans should be ashamed of themselves first Senator Kennedy has to get out of his sick bed to help the country and now Senator Brown has to leave the wake of his mother. What more of a sacrifice could be made by Senators who love their country and it's people. MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP THEM SAFE.
It's ok...you can count on Snowe, Specter or Collins pulling a "haha, fooled you!" now that they have Gregg's vote and Kennedy won't be there.
Great :( The NWO is going to shoot the plane down.
Don't criticize CEOs for taking private jets to meet with Congress and then turn around and send a White House private jet to pick up someone to vote on the stimulus package and then fly him back to Ohio. With all the technology we have today, surely a much less expensive way could have been found to allow him to cast his vote. This is very hypocritical of the democrats and the President but "I know, you need his vote".
IT IS A SHAME TO SEE THAT THE REPUBLICAN RIGHT WING CONGRESS HAS AGAIN CHOSEN PARTY OVER COUNTRY.
WHERE IS THE REPUBLICANS SUPPORT FOR THE PEOPLE. IF A BILL DOESN'T SUPPORT CORPORATE TAX BREAKS OR TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH THEY VOTE AGAINIST IT.
SUPPORT YOUR COUNTRY OR GET OUT OF OFFICE.
Hey, since we are the taxpayers, will Obie someday announce a lottery pool to see who gets to win and ride aboard Air Force One/
This 1,100 page bill was up and running at mid-night.... the House has already voted.... the Senate is expected within the hour....
Did Anyone Read It??? I
Now Pelosi leaves town for 8 days.
It is not unprecedented for this to be done.
If this Senator believes his vote is so important for our country, then his feelings should be honored. Why not?
My condolences to the Sen. Sherrod Brown and his family.
Hurry back to us safely, your country needs you.