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.”
@chicagotrauma– where on earth did you come up with the stupid lie that the bill was released to lobbyists before it was released to members of Congress? What DO you nutcases smoke??? Oh wait, I'm sure you listen to Mr. Golden Throat Limbaugh for your news?
Just an FYI to everybody– the chances of a Representative or Senator actually reading ANY bill himself or herself or fairly small. That's what they have those big staffs for. Those people read sections of a bill and write a synopsis for the "big dog". It may take several people on each staff to get thru a large complicated bill, but that's what they get paid for.
Obama has done more good in the past 4 weeks than Bush did in the past 4 years. Repugs, get a life.
Lou Dobbs, you are not Mr. Idependent but a racist, why do you hate the minorities so much, and you think because you are in good position , you are better than them, no you are not you are just lucky, if not for the so called mexican in USA how would the agricultural products of USA would have been by now.
With this attitude of your i know you don't like the new President because he is black as well, i hate your show and i know you are among those people wishing him not to be successful, i wish they would stop airing your programme on Cnn, even i could remember when Ted Turner was on your show he warned you to backoff the mexican because of the racist that you are, you would not.
Of course, heaven forbid we should wait until Monday and give these people a chance to actually read it. Oh wait, Monday's President's Day and everyone is off work. Well that settles it, we have to do it now before anyone even reads it because if we wait til TUESDAY, omg, the world will end.
Don't make a big deal about this.
George W. Bush, with the adoration of his public, used both Air Force One (for himself and entourage) and a huge cargo plane (for his helicopters, cars, and whatever else) to go to open a NASCAR race.
I saw the planes land myself.
When are we going to get past this need for senators to vote in person? We have the technology..........
This wouldnt be necessary if Republicans got their heads out of their butts. I hope this helps but really no one knows. anyway this is better than doing nothing; thats what Bush did and look where that got us.
This would have been a great opportunity for one Repug to just vote for the bill to save the Senator from flying back during his bereavement. They could have stated they are still against the bill. What a bunch of selflish uncaring group of people. They will be extinct in 2010.
The republicans epitomize the word Sucks!!They have manipulated the banks,the SEC,the military,and the right wing christian cuckoos since 1994,until 2006.I have a higher opinion of child molesters.Of course,that would be degrading to child molesters to equate them with republicans!!!
How could anyone care about the cost of a flight when someone has lost their Mother? My condolences to the Senator and his family.
If you're concerned about Federal overspending – you may want to look at the Trillion dollar deficit left by the Bush administration – and the horrendous cost of a completely futile war in Iraq.
Are we serious, the white house flying a senator in to vote, taking him from his grieving family? Wow he definately better be invited to the next fun thing at the White House! And the Big Three were admonished, such hypocrisy!
Thoughtless fools? Have you missed the past eight years? Have you missed the war in Iraq, which was supposed to cost a few thousand dollars and end in a few weeks? And instead cost a trillion – so far? The one where there was never going to be any trouble between the Sunnis and the Shiites? That was just pop psychology?
60 votes are needed because this bill will raise the deficit. That's a rule Congress put into place to help curb financial irresponsibility.
I love how Obama didn't get a single GOP House vote on the final product. How is going to reform entitlements if he can't even get bipartisan support on a spending package?
Some recent polls I have seen only show 48% public support for the current bill and that is probably before they have seen all the bells and whistles (pork; here piggy piggy). Even with that, only 65% wanted "some type" of stimulus anyway.
Finally, maybe Congress should actually read the thing before they vote on it...
Here's the question? Would the White House have done the same thing had the Senator Brown been a Republican? I'm willing to bet the White House would not have provided the plane. Also I'm sure Senator Reid would have closed the vote in the normal procedure and not held it open the the Senator Brown been a Republican.
This is hope and change?
Obama 's voting record as a Senator speaks for itself. (Always on the left)
Now all of a sudden he wants a claimed bipartisan effort, I didn't think anyone was gullible enough to believe this nonsense, but reading the blogs and watching the news tells a different story.
Wake up and smell the coffee, there is nothing about Obama that is bipartisan.
In the Senate, as well, there was growing dismay among Democrats, not just at the level of opposition from Republicans but the failure of anyone to step forward and ease the situation for Kennedy by offering themselves as a proxy vote.
Severely ill with cancer, Kennedy’s presence had been vital in the earlier rounds to ensure 61 votes—and give some political protection to the three Republican moderates. The fact that he would not be there Friday raised anxiety, even to the point that his wife, Victoria, called the Republicans to ensure their support if her husband did not return.
Out of 40 Republicans in the senate, not even TWO were able to vote proxy for Kennedy (suffering with cancer) and Brown ( mother's funeral).
SHAME SHAME SHAME -You ReF---s.
America – you should never forgive these ME ME ME Republicans.
and the bs just keeps pouring out of the white house.
The place has become a joke with all the trash in it now.
Its in by law that he has to be there to vote
It is not the votin for or against thast is bull. It is the representative standing up complaining about the bill and not presenting better options.
this guy must be an environmental terrorist with all the fuel he is using up.
Godspeed, Senator Brown
It would have been nice if Sen. Voinivich from Ohio had offered to vote yes for Brown. Voinivich is not seeking re-election and it seems like it might be a nice gesture.
how convenient....... all here who support this "obama ination" bill are going to get a lot more than you want....... that stack of paper isn't worth using to start the bonfire that it should be thrown into
Obama 2.0 February 13th, 2009 6:35 pm ET
The Republicans are amazing, they are all over the news talking about the things that were striped from the bill as if they care or helped in the process.
If there is anyrthing missing that should be in the bill, then it is on the backs of the lazy, do nothing, No voting Republicans. What a dysfunctional group. I hope they did not strip counseling and treatment for the GOP because they are in need of some brain stimulus!
the republicans did do something.... they voted to do away with a bill that should have sat for 48 hours as promised so it could be read by the people who voted and the american public to see what we are paying for