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.”
I find it funny that the original "stimulus" was proposed and sign by the republican conservative Bush, and yet the mindless sheep that followed that tyrant into the worst economic disaster in decades now say that it is all Obama's fault and that we should let capatilism take back over. Well I dare anyone to tell me a time in all of American history where capitalism actually worked. Capitalism does not work AT ALL. It is Capitalism and selfish thinking by greedy men and women (mostly republicans) that got is into this mess and at least we have someone now willing to take a risk and do something about it. No one knows if this will work or not but what is the alternative? Come Republicans, where is the alternate idea, and don't say that same old rhetoric, tax cuts. Tax cuts have been a proven failure in hard economic times time and time again. But then again when you are a selfish, ignorant, and stupid as many of you republicans are then I guess tax cuts will work.
I am sure everyone has read the 1,100 pages. At least Nancy saves her marsh mice. And Harry stuck his 8 billion in also.
All the neo-fascists in here spouting off had better remember that they were whipped in November and that majority rules. You have no credibility. After eight years of spending recklessly, your suddenly the party of fiscal discipline again? What cowardly hypocrites!
Senator Brown, you have my deepest condolences, not only for the loss of your mother, but for the fact that you have to tolerate the clueless and unfeeling GOP, who want only to drive our country further into the ground.
It's obvious that those who support this bill are among the most ignorant of all individuals.
I'm glad so many people are willing to saddle the next two generations with this burden just so their party wins today.
Gosh, I just wish some of you folks would take out your Bible, or borrow one, and read Psalm 36. This man lost his mother...his rock...and you are insensitive enough to put you garble on this.
Where is your conscience or your heart!
Senator...for you 1 Thess. 4:13,14
I can't believe we are spending this kind of money–and not one congressman has had time to read and digest the bill.
Stimulus talk: How about cabinet positions and changes of heart ...
Limbaugh's paws are all over the Gregg change of heart. Can't fool everyone Rush. LImbaugh's focus is to create some chaos for the Obama administration, or as much chaos as possible during his first 100 days. Rush is the biggest bully on the playground.
I'm thankful Daschle is out, bad pick from the beginning.
In years to come, the GOP elected officials want to be able to say, "I voted against this stimulus" so they can win in reelection.
Dave you are the one that needs to get a clue. Bush's tax cuts and war account for over 50% over the reason for budget deficit. Those figures are in a 2005 CBO report. You can believe whatever you what but the facts are Republican's screwed us for a long time and now we are trying to get out of this hole with spending and tax cuts.
The vote should wait until next week until after Congress and the American people have a chance to look at it. Condolences to Sen. Brown and his family. It's so selfish of Obama to force him back to D.C .during his time of grief. Why the rush? What happened to the promise of transparency by Obama and Congress? This so-called stimulus plan is a tremendous waste of money and and unfair burden to our children. Hillary should have been our President. Missed opportunities indeed.
Our prayers are with you Senator Brown. Make your mother proud and STAND UP for the millions of families who NEED your support.
God Bless you and your family for your loss. Our hearts go out to you all.
BTW, the ridiculous name-calling is beyond old.
Why don't you partisans put your thick skulls together and put the COUNTRY before your USELESS PARTIES!
This vote shows there is nothing Grand in the GOP, except, perhaps, the
Grandstanding that Boehner and Company are doing on the floor of the House. The people are wise to you. Can't wait for 2010 !
I honsetly don't care what party he is from . . . he wants to do his job, and be there for his mother. That he has the mindset to do anything is wonderful. It is his mother. . . get over it.
Reading the negative comments on this blog is disheartening. A man has lost his mother and the lack of sympathy is shameful. Just so you know Senator Brown is a taxpayer also. All this nastiness about a flight is sad. I wish that kind of outrage existed about the 18 million dollars that was split between 400 people at Merrill Lynch.
Everyone needs to lay off Brown. If Republicans were serious about saving taxpayers money, one of them would have offered to vote "yes" for the Senator and saved both his time during the burial of his mother and the American taxpayer the costs of these flights. This would have been an excellent opportunity to show true "bipartisanship", but it was instead wasted.
And yes, government intervention can create jobs. Anyone remember the WPA?
oh and whine and cry all you want republicans, because YOU LOST, WE WON! Go cry to mommy palin like you have been since November and GET OVER IT!
the greedy republicans keep playing with AMERICAN LIVES, not only have they spent TRILLIONS of dollars on a useless war and caused the lives of so many of our BRAVE SOILDERS to be killed, what do they want, more homeless and starving people, i think it's time to do away with the republican party altogether.
According to Sen Spector, republicans did not dislike the stimulus bill, just didn't want their prints on it. Talk about keeping the republican tradition of being whinny cowards. Grow a set of "courage" guys.
We can only hope that a couple of senators come to their senses and decide not to vote for this enormous, pork filled so called stimulus plan!
I also hope Americans call and write their representatives in Washington and voice their OUTRAGE at this stimulus plan that was shoved down their throats!
President Obama said their would be change and transparency in his new government! Where is it?? Ths stimulus plan was voted on before anyone had the chance to even read it!!
I think we all need to pray for our country!!
I just don't get it. We all (including our Congress members) appropriately criticized the auto industry execs for flying their private planes to meet with Congress in December. We all admit that we absolutely must be prudent with all spending. Yet this is the second instance in two weeks that the White House and the Democratic majority Senate has ordered a government plane to fly an absent Democratic Senator to Washington to vote on a stimulus bill instead of waiting for the vote until they could get there on a commercial flight and in this situation until this Senator could properly bury his Mother! This is a very inappropriate use of Taxpayer money and I am insulted that the White House and Senate felt that this is OK. This is setting a very bad example of leadership! We voters will remember this the next time you ask for our vote.
Why did not Senator Voinovich step up and agree to vote aye in place of his fellow Ohio Senator Brown? It would have saved all this "drama". Senator Voinovich is not going to run again, or so I have heard, so what issue is there?
You know I can't help but see these Republicans wringing their lily white hands as though they have NO Guilt whatsoever in where we are in this mess.... that they are in fact White Knights come to save the Country from extravagant spending liberals who want to bankrupt this country that they slaved over for 8 years! If people falll for this holier than thou crap.... they deserve exactly what they get!
Somehow I don't think the people are that stupid anymore!
So it was ok when the Republicans extended the vote on the prescription drug plan so they could twist arms to get votes. How soon Republicans forget!
I'm sorry for the Ohio Senator's loss - but let's get real - THIS is a reason to hold up the vote? I understand Sen. Kennedy won't be there either.
THAT'S the Democrats for you - Penny wise and pound foolish!
“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.”
Oh yeah, panic, panic, panic! Don't take the time to actually read the thousand pages of detail committing us and our kids to a trillion dollar spending spree! Don't even think about it! Just vote for it!