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.”
So sorry for your loss Sen. Brown..
Hurry back..you know your mother would want you to complete your job duties.
Come on republicans, start bashing this guy too!
Sorry to hear about your mother Senator.
Did Obama make him come later CNN?
We seem to be spinning everything.
So tired with our media!
So let me get this straight.......the dumbocrats admit that they haven't read the bill and, in fact, "said U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat. “Regardless of party, we all cast our votes with one hand and crossed our fingers with the other.”
and you democrats are ok with that?? And then you wonder why people think you are a bunch of thoughtless fools.
Every Senator who votes against the bill should be cutoff from any funds, "period".
Why... because Democrats are too afraid to simply vote on this bill Monday???
Dems are slamming this bill through with reckless abandon. When the details are sifted this weekend and next week – public pressure is going to fall on the 3 stooges: Obama, Nancy, and Harry.
Oh – and watch the stock market, folks. Already hitting intra-day lows of 7600. Next week we'll see new records set for it's lowest levels in decades!
We will post bill online for five days for the public to review....
48 hrs for congress to review bills...
This is what we've been told...
CNN, No mention that the Bill is 1000+ pages long?
No mention that it was released to lobbyists, before the congress members?
CNN, you have no specifics on this bill?
Wonder how many congrssman have read this bill? It is, after all, worth 700+ BILLION of our dollars.
New levels of transparency, both in our government, and our media.
Oh this is nice. They will have six extra hours. Maybe some of the Democratic senators who are ramming this irresponsible piece of PORK through will actually take time to READ SOME OF IT!!
Sorry for your loss, Senator – thanks for your effort to help us get jobs. We're tired of being beaten down and broke.
Can't someone who is going to vote against it, vote for it instead making it known they are only voting for it to save taxpayer dollars so Brown does not have to fly back? That is the common sense thing to do, isn't it?
Why not just phone in his vote... it's not like anyone was able to read it prior to voting anyway...
My condolences to the Senator. Regardless of party – losing your family is a difficult time.
I do wish the Senator would return, however, and vote No. This bill is going to bury the American people!
CNN, YOU need to do your homework!
You are having fun with the subject of WHEN the stimulus package was available for congress persons' to read.
Why not look it up? You have the dog darn records! YOU have printed them out!
When were those papers first available?????
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA IS THE GREATEST HOAX IN AMERICA HISTORY.
HILLARY,SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUR PRESIDENT.
My prayers are with Sen. Brown and his family.
What a waste of OUR tax dollars... just have sombody vote in his place or like an absentee ballot...geez
I'm sorry for his loss.
Dirty politicians! Everyone understands that all yours votes are set ups. Leave the man alone to grief for his mother. Why don't all of you 59 fly to Ohio and vote there?
We are voting in a huge stimulus plan and the taxpayers are flying this guy back from Ohio..I'm sorry for his loss but we chewed the CEO's out for not taking a less expensive mode of travel–Shouldn't our Senators lead by example? The vote could wait until tomorrow
Condolences to you and Godspeed.
And the games continue...
Sorry – -The topic I wanted to make a comment on is closed
For those of you who want a knowledgeable left wing talk host
who has kicked Limplips big butt- -Check with your radio station
for Randi Rhodes–She is awesome and knows her stuff.
Or you can google her name and find her online.
Did he critize the auto execs for flying private planes to get to DC?
Why are 60 votes needed? I thought only 51 was needed?